- Abbie McManus reveals Phil Neville allowed no tears over the USA defeat
- The defender desperately wants a bronze medal to give to her father
- Follow the Live Blog for #ENGSWE
By Laure James with England
The big dream – to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ – may have ended in a Lyon thriller, but England are determined to finish on the podium. Abbie McManus, who could replace the suspended Millie Bright at centre-back, is particularly eager to claim a bronze medal to present to her father.
“In a World Cup, if it’s not gold then silver, if it’s not silver then bronze,” she told FIFA. “I definitely don’t want to finish fourth – if you finish fourth you might as well have gone home in the group stages, to be honest. Nobody remembers fourth.
“And I am not saying anybody remembers third, but at least I will have something to put around my dad’s neck. My dad has all of them, he will definitely be getting that bronze medal, that’s for sure.”
The England squad arrived in Nice on Wednesday, having tried to shake off the disappointment of losing to USA, in the departure lounge.
“We had to stick together as a team,” McManus said. “We had to sit on a plane together, we had to come to the next destination together, but it’s part of being professional.
“Phil was very clear that he didn’t want any tears. We gave everything on the pitch, you could see the girls Lucy [Bronze], Jill [Scott], Steph [Houghton], the energy was sapped out of them, they gave literally everything.
“It’s hard to take for the girls because it’s the third semi-final that they’ve not actually reached the Final. For me it’s just the first, so it’s a little bit different, but it still hurts. It’s hard, I wasn’t on the pitch, you feel for the girls and they just need that moment to bring themselves together.
“Fair play to the USA, they came to do a job and got to the Final, they completed that. I think they thought this was their Final, to beat us.
“They know that we are so on their toes and they have to bring more and more now to each tournament, because we are right up behind them and we want to overtake them. This time we haven’t, but next time I hope that we do. We want the next World Cup already.”
Before England look to 2023, however, they face Sweden – to whom they lost 2-0 in a friendly in November – for bronze.
“Sweden are tough opposition, we played them before the World Cup and lost, but it’s something we want to put right,” McManus said. “They’re tough opposition.
“I can only really talk about Koso [Aslani] because I played with her at Man City, and after watching the game [in which she was injured], I hope she’s having a speedy recovery and I hope she’s ok. We will get into the game-plan for Sweden tomorrow, I guess. We all want to put things right to win the third place now.”