July 1 – The eagerly awaited Women’s World Cup semi-final between favourites and defending champions United States and England, has been given extra spice by a new ‘spygate’ row that is reportedly infuriating English officials but has been played down as storm in a teacup by those across the pond.
England coach Phil Neville has questioned the “etiquette” of the Americans after their staff were spotted in the private rooms of England’s team hotel in Lyon while Neville’s side were out training.
The incident occurred on Sunday, two days before the teams meet in Tuesday’s semi-final. The Americans insist they would never stoop to such levels, with head coach Jill Ellis explaining her officials were merely scouting the hotel as a potential base for her team for Sunday’s final.
“I would assume everybody is doing that,” she said. “You have to plan ahead. The only ones who went were the team administrator and her boss. We don’t worry about that. That’s who the two were.”
Ellis also denied that incident was another example of her team being arrogant.
“Arrogance has nothing to do with us,” said Ellis. “That’s planning and preparation for staff. I had no idea how we were even going to get to Lyon.
“It is important that we have confidence. We are not arrogant. We know we have to earn everything and have tough opponents. We have to earn every right to go further in this tournament.”
But the US’s decision to scout England’s hotel in the first place drew criticism from Neville.
“It’s not something I would want my team’s operations doing. England would not do it,” he said. “I am happy with our hotel and we were training. I hope they enjoyed our hotel. It is not something we would do, send somebody round, but it is their problem.
“Jill Ellis wouldn’t have been happy and nor would I have been and I am sure she will be dealing with that infrastructure within her discipline.”
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