Phil Neville is confident in the England Women’s National Team he manages, having described the team as the “best prepared” side he has led so far. In fact, Neville is so confident that he is backing his squad to reach the upcoming 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final, according to a report by Sky Sports.
England is scheduled to begin their journey in the 2019 edition of the tournament against Scotland on June 9 with a squad that is confident of reaching the first women’s final in the nation’s history. In Euro 2017, England’s last major international tournament, the women were knocked out in the semi-final round by hosts the Netherlands, with the Dutch women going on to become the eventual winners. In the 2015 edition of the Women’s World Cup saw England finish third.
The English women enter the tournament on a good run of form after winning the SheBelieves Cup in the United States earlier in 2019, knocking out likely world cup rivals Brazil and Japan en route to winning the trophy for the first time.
Speaking to Sky Sports News during the team’s open media day, Neville explained how he feels the time is right for England to move beyond simply being content with the world powers and approach the Women’s World Cup with a real confidence that they will leave the winners, saying, “When I took over 16 months ago, we spoke openly about our ambitions. They said they wanted to challenge to win a World Cup and go one step further than the semi-final. We’ve made a semi-final in the Euros and we’ve made a semi in the World Cup. Now we want to make that next step.”
Neville cited the SheBelieves Cup win as the point that it became clear that England will be a factor in the World Cup, saying, “To celebrate as winners with the USA, Brazil, and Japan watching… that was the most important thing because that success keeps breeding people to want it more… The confidence of being in a big tournament was great practice for what we’re going to experience in 20 days’ time when we go against Scotland, Argentina, and Japan.”
Still, Neville admitted that the run of matches in quick succession against the best teams in the world is no cakewalk and plans to utilize his full squad and take advantage of the team’s depth. Still, when pressed as to whether he would go so far as to guarantee an appearance in the final, Neville responded by saying, “Are we going to bring it home? We’re going to do our best. We’re probably the best prepared England senior women’s team that’s ever gone to a major tournament… We will enjoy ourselves and play a brand of football that we’ve developed over the last 16 months and we’re going to give it a right good go.”