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England v Argentina, Women’s World Cup, Group D

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England v Argentina, Women’s World Cup, Group D
Venue: Stade Oceane, Le Havre Date: Friday, 14 June, 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website from 19:30 BST, live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Manager Phil Neville says his England team will have to manage the “emotion” of playing against “historic rivals” Argentina at the Women’s World Cup.

The Lionesses will reach the knockout stage if they win Friday’s Group D match in Le Havre (20:00 BST).

Neville said it feels like a rivalry because of past encounters at men’s tournaments between the two nations.

“There’s a great history between the countries,” said the former England defender on Thursday.

“You think back to 1986, Michael Owen’s goal, and in 1998 with David Beckham and when they knocked us out.

“There is an outstanding history and another big rivalry.

“When we looked at this group you saw the rivalry with Scotland, and with Argentina what you’ve got in this case is a football history.

“Like the Scotland game, we have to handle the occasion and the emotion.”

Toni Duggan will once again be absent, having sat out their opening win over Scotland with a thigh problem.

Neville said Friday’s game, between an England team ranked three in the world and Argentina ranked 37th, comes “a day too soon” for the Barcelona forward.

Argentina bring the ‘rebel spirit’

Argentina picked up their first ever World Cup point on Monday with a surprising 0-0 draw against 2011 champions and 2015 finalists Japan.

The nation had lost all six of their previous World Cup matches, including a 6-1 defeat by England in 2007, and qualified for France despite only returning to action in 2017 following a two-year period with no games and no coach after issues with their own football association.

“It’s thanks to the hearts of the players and their rebel spirit that we were able to plough forward,” coach Carlos Borrello said of their past issues.

“We were lucky. Well, not really lucky, but with their strength and dedication we have been able to move forward.

“We’re making history in our country. This is the first step but we still have a long way to go and we have a lot of work to do.”

Neville hits back at ‘keyboard warrior’ Verheijen

Neville hit back at Raymond Verheijen in his news conference after the former Wales assistant coach criticised the standard of football at the Women’s World Cup, describing it as “shocking” and claimed teams were being coached by “clueless leftovers from the men’s game”.

Verheijen, who has caused outrage in the past for his outspoken views on the likes of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and former Wales manager Chris Coleman, said the World Cup was “like watching grass grow”.

Neville, who said the Dutchman’s Tweet was “probably aimed at me”, described him as a “keyboard warrior” and urged him to “go out there and get a job”.

“He’s had a go at Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Mauricio Pochettino, Klopp. Every top manager in the world, he’s had a go at,” a frustrated Neville told reporters in Le Havre.

“He is a keyboard warrior. He sits and talks a fantastic game, but I never see him working in top-level football. That is why he can’t get employed. We can all talk a good game.

“Go win a Champions League, go and win a Premier League. That’s what Wenger does – the people he is having a go at.

“It’s why he has an egg next to his name on Twitter,” Neville added.

Former Australia international Mark Schwarzer was among those who hit back at Verheijen on Twitter, saying “clearly you haven’t watched any of the games”.

Meanwhile, Birmingham City midfielder Emma Follis added: “Yikes. I feel sorry for the women in your life with prehistoric views like that.”

Hat-trick of World Cup wins over South American opposition?

  • England won their only previous Women’s World Cup encounter with Argentina 6-1 in the 2007 group stage, with Kelly Smith netting a brace.
  • England have won both of their Women’s World Cup matches against South American opposition, beating Argentina 6-1 in 2007 and Colombia 2-1 in 2015.
  • Argentina have lost their three previous encounters with European nations at the Women’s World Cup by an aggregate score of 2-23, shipping at least six goals in each match.
  • Last time out against Scotland, Jill Scott made her 15th appearance at the Women’s World Cup, more than any other England player. If she scores in this match, she will become just the second England player to net in three different editions of the Women’s World Cup after Fara Williams.

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