English women's football can explode with World Cup success – Neville


Phil Neville took charge of the England Women’s team in January 2018

England can help women’s football “explode” in this country with success at next summer’s World Cup in France, manager Phil Neville says.

The Lionesses began their preparation for the tournament with a 1-0 win over Brazil at Meadow Lane on Saturday.

They play Australia on Tuesday and Neville says the visitors will be “dark horses” at the 2019 tournament, which begins on 7 June.

“Now we have to start getting to finals and winning,” he said.

“That is the only way we are going to inspire the next generation, by seeing a gold medal around our necks and lifting the trophy.”

Neville was appointed as national manager in January, and the former Manchester United defender is hoping to improve on the team’s previous best World Cup showing of third place in 2015.

“I think this is probably our moment really, where it can explode,” said the 41-year-old.

“I say to everyone at the Football Association that the only way the game can explode is if an England team is successful – and that means winning.

“We did unbelievably well at the last World Cup in Canada, to finish third, which started the ball rolling.

“It has kicked on from there with us getting to the semi-finals in the [2017] Euros.”

Australia finished runners-up to defending world champions USA at the 2018 Tournament of Nations, and Neville believes the Matildas will provide a physical test for his players when the two sides meet at Craven Cottage.

“There is a consistency to their performances and structure and their players are playing in top leagues in the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott has withdrawn from the squad, having not played against Brazil because of a discomfort in her ankle.

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