England Women’s manager Phil Neville was irritated to discover the Americans scoping out England’s hotel as he prepared for the World Cup semifinal against the United States.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis said 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 Fourviere Hotel, which is close to the old town, while England were 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.”
However, Neville disagreed.
“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 staying at the less luxurious Residence Lyon Metropole, which is in the north of Lyon.
“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 organisation.”
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 opponentsstill ahead of us and we have to earn every right to advance in this tournament.”
Meanwhile, U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher played down the incident.
“Just heard about that five minutes ago before coming in [to media],” she said in a news conference to preview the semifinal. “That, to be honest, has nothing to do with the game.
“Our managers, our operations, have scouted, checked out every hotel we’ve ever potentially stayed in to make sure we’ve got Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. It has nothing to do with the game.
“It’s just our operations checking all the boxes and preparing us for whatever path we take.”