Neville irritated with Americans over World Cup hotel visit

Sports

United States coach Jill Ellis at the end of the Women’s World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Spain and US at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Monday, June 24, 2019. US beat Spain 2-1. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

LYON, France (AP) — Preparing for the Women’s World Cup semifinal against the United States, coach Phil Neville was irritated to discover the Americans scoping out England’s hotel.

The Americans would move into it if they win the next game.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis insisted it was a sign of good preparation rather than arrogance, but Neville suggested it could be a disciplinary matter for the staff dispatched to the hotel and bad etiquette

A pair of U.S. staffers visited the Fourvière Hotel, which is close to the old town, while England was out at a practice Sunday. The winners of Tuesday’s semifinal get to stay in the hotel while they prepare for the July 7 final, which is also being played in Lyon.

“I think that’s important to do your job,” Ellis said. “So in terms of arrogance I think that’s got nothing to do with us. That’s planning and preparation for our staff. So I think that’s pretty normal.”

Not so, according to Neville.

“We were training, I hope they enjoyed the hotel but it’s not something we would do — sending someone round to another team’s hotel,” Neville said. “But it’s their problem. I am sure that Jill probably wouldn’t have been happy with that arrangement. I wouldn’t have been if that was my team ops person going round.

“I am sure they will be dealing with their own infrastructure within their own discipline problem.”

Based on information provided by FIFA to the media, the Americans are currently staying at the less luxurious Residence Lyon Métropole, which is in the north of Lyon.

The Fourvière Hotel is west of the city close to an ancient Roman amphitheater, on the site of a 19th century convent, with the reception area in the old chapel under gold-trimmed artwork.

“I just thought, ‘What are they doing?'” Neville said of the Americans. “It’s not etiquette, really. It’s not something I would allow from our organization.”

The planning for the final hotel is the latest indication of self-assuredness from a team that saw U.S. defender Ali Krieger say it is the world’s best team as well as the world’s “second-best.”

“It’s important that our team has confidence,” Ellis said. “I don’t think in any way this is an arrogant team. I think this team knows that they’ve got to earn everything, that we’ve got tough opponents … still ahead of us and we have to earn every right to advance in this tournament.”

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