VALENCIENNES • On an evening when Phil Neville accused Cameroon's coach of allowing his team to "shame football", England's 3-0 Women's World Cup win and progress to the quarter-finals against Norway on Thursday was almost reduced to a footnote.
Alain Djeumfa's side had transformed Sunday's last-16 tie into farce with his team briefly refusing to restart the game after an England goal was given by the VAR (video assistant referee) system while another from Cameroon was disallowed.
England coach Neville said he was left "utterly ashamed" by the behaviour of the Cameroon players which overshadowed his side's victory in Valenciennes, with goals coming from captain Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood.
"I sat through 90 minutes of football there and felt ashamed - proud of my own players' behaviour under circumstances that I've never seen on a football field before, and utterly ashamed of the behaviour of the opposition," he said.
"It takes you back to the times when you were a kid, and you lost and you went home crying with your ball.
"England players would never behave like that but if they did, they would never, ever play for England again. I would say to Cameroon: get your ship in order first before you start throwing stones.
"Their actions were so bad for the image of the game. I hope they will learn from this."
OUT OF THE QUESTION
It takes you back to the times when you were a kid, and you lost and you went home crying with your ball. England players would never behave like that but if they did, they would never, ever play for England again.
PHIL NEVILLE, England coach.
England's early opener at the Stade du Hainaut came after Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom picked up what was adjudged to have been a back pass by Augustine Ejangue, although it looked to be nothing more than a poor piece of control from the defender.
WE LOST A CHANCE
We came back to 2-1 and again the goal was disallowed by the VAR. I think if that goal had stood we would have had a different outcome.
ALAIN DJEUMFA, Cameroon coach.
Toni Duggan laid off the resulting free kick barely six yards out for Houghton to score, as Cameroon felt hard done by at the manner in which they conceded that goal.
Their anger then reached boiling point when White's goal to make it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time was initially disallowed for offside before being awarded after the referee consulted the VAR.
White was in line with the last defender when the pass was played, and the decision to let the goal stand was the correct one.
But the Cameroon players surrounded the referee, pointing to the big screen replays of the goal and seemingly threatening to walk off.
The next flashpoint came just after the restart as Ajara Nchout scored from Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene's low cross, but again VAR overturned the decision, this time disallowing the goal for offside.
Again it was the right call, but again the Cameroon players protested vehemently. Neville approached Djeumfa to try to help calm his opposite number down, and play eventually resumed.
England then wrapped up their win when Duggan's low corner was swept home first-time by Greenwood in the 58th minute.
Neville was also unhappy at the challenge on Houghton by Alexandra Takounda late in the game which left his captain with an ankle injury. He also said Duggan was spat at in the first half while claiming the African team had even been involved in fights at their hotel.
Djeumfa, meanwhile, insisted Cameroon had been the victims of an "injustice".
"We came back to 2-1 and again the goal was disallowed by the VAR. I think if that goal had stood we would have had a different outcome," added the coach, who also refuted suggestions his players threatened to walk off.
Cameroon could face an inquiry and possible disciplinary action.
Fifa's disciplinary body is likely to look at some of the incidents while Isha Johansen, the chair of the women's football committee for the African Football Confederation (CAF), said her body will also be opening an inquiry.
"Yesterday's match between England and Cameroon reflected badly, not only on African women's football, but African football on the whole," she said yesterday.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS
NORWAY V ENGLAND
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