Phil Neville dedicated England’s 1-0 win over Argentina to the late mothers of forward Fran Kirby and goalkeeper Carly Telford, saying: “We hope that their two mums were looking down on them and were very proud of their performances”.
Kirby, the 25-year-old forward, lost her mother aged 14 following a brain haemorrhage, while goalkeeper Telford, 31, lost her mother to cancer last year. Friday June 14 would have been Kirby’s mother’s birthday.
“We’re a family,” Neville said. “We were aware today that it was Fran mother’s birthday. It’s been well-documented, her love and her affection that she has for her mother and how much she misses her.
“Then Carly Telford lost her mother this year as well. Carly made her World Cup debut today after being in many, many a World Cup squad and many, many a European Championship squad and never actually getting on the pitch.
“I think in the huddle at the end, we made reference to the fact that we hope that their two mums were looking down on them and were very proud of their performances. I thought Fran was outstanding tonight.
“We help each other. Today’s been really an emotional day because Fran is a special person who misses her mum. So does Carly Telford. So today we shared their emotion, we shared their happiness and we shared their sadness.
“We knew that for them [Argentina] to compete with us, they had to do everything possible. But my players kept their concentration unbelievably and I was very proud of them tonight.”
Nikita Parris missed a penalty after being seemingly unnerved by the amount of time between planting the ball on the spot and being allowed to take the spot-kick, purportedly because of opposition players encroaching.
Neville said: “I don’t get it. What was it today? I didn’t get the delay. It was long on Saturday but today it seemed set and there still seemed to be another two minutes of delay. It’s probably something that we probably have to get used to. Nikita, Jodie [Taylor], Fran, whoever takes the penalty, probably have to be aware, maybe not put the ball down as quickly. If there is a long pause, think of a strategy to overcome that.”