Women's World Cup: Greenwood scores as England progress
Alex Greenwood was among the goals as Phil Neville’s England side reached the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals in France with a 3-0 win over Cameroon.
The Manchester United Women captain showed great movement to get free from a clever low corner by Toni Duggan and produced a neat finish from 10 yards to find the net on 58 minutes.
Manchester City duo Steph Houghton and Ellen White had earlier given the Lionesses a 2-0 lead at half-time in an incident-packed game in Valenciennes.
Sunday’s last-16 tie at Stade du Hainaut wasn’t without controversy involving the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), which has been the subject of intense scrutiny throughout the tournament.
Cameroon could have been reduced to 10 players from as early as the fourth minute when Yvonne Leuko elbowed Nikita Parris but Chinese referee Qin Liang opted to show her a yellow card, with no VAR intervention.
England took a 14th-minute lead through captain Houghton, who was teed up by Barcelona forward Duggan from an indirect free-kick inside the box following a Cameroon backpass.
White then scored her fourth goal of the tournament, after a VAR review in first-half stoppage time. Cameroon’s players were furious, having seen Duggan in an offside position in the build-up on the stadium screen, despite the fact she wasn’t interfering with play.
Cameroon thought they had halved the deficit just after the break through Ajara Nchout, who was reduced to tears when her goal was disallowed following a marginal offside in the build-up.
After Greenwood sealed victory with a brilliantly worked third goal for England, Cameroon’s Alexandra Takounda Engolo escaped with just a yellow card, despite an on-pitch VAR review, for a poor challenge on Houghton late on.
It led to passionate post-match comments from former United defender Neville, who condemned Cameroon’s behaviour and praised his own players for the way they conducted themselves in challenging circumstances.
Greenwood, who has played in three of England’s four games at the World Cup, has now scored three goals for her country from 40 appearances, having made her senior international debut in March 2014.
Alex’s incoming club colleague Abbie McManus, who has signed a pre-contract agreement to join United Women, was an unused substitute against Cameroon.
Greenwood and McManus could feature when England take on Norway in Le Havre on Thursday (kick-off 20:00 BST) for a place in the semi-finals.
Jackie Groenen, who has agreed to join United Women this summer, may be involved when the Netherlands face Japan in their last-16 match in Rennes on Tuesday (kick-off 20:00 BST).