England were at the centre of a World Cup spying storm on Sunday night after the United States, who they play in Tuesday’s semi-final, sent officials into their hotel and inner sanctum to scout it as a place to stay before the World Cup final.
Two American officials, including the operations manager, arrived at the five-star Fourviere Hotel in central Lyon while Phil Neville and his players were at training on Sunday and were given a full tour of the facilities where England are preparing.
They were not obviously identifiable as members of the US contingent.
Phil Neville was indignant after the United States sent officials into England’s hotel
Neville, who is clearly indignant, said on Sunday night that it was breach of ‘etiquette’ and that he would expect his opposite number Jill Ellis to instigate and investigation.
‘The only thing I would say is that it’s not something I would want my team ops person to do,’ said Neville, who declared he had no injury worries ahead of the semi-final.
‘I’m happy with my team hotel and I hope they are enjoying their hotel. It’s not something we would have done, sending someone around to (the opponents) hotel and I’m sure they will be dealing with it.
Two American officials arrived at the hotel while Neville and his players were at training
The USA were scouting the Fourviere Hotel as a place to stay before the World Cup final
Neville says the United States’ actions won’t give them an unfair advantage ahead of the game
‘It doesn’t give them an unfair advantage. It has no bearing on the game. I thought it was quite funny. I was thinking “What are they are doing”. But it’s not etiquette is it? It’s not something my team would be doing.’
England are not sure if the Americans saw anything that had been left in meeting rooms and feel that their opponents could have planned their mission months ago.
But Ellis insisted it was not a sign that her team were complacent, with one eye on the final. She said: ‘I would assume everybody is doing that. You have to plan ahead. It is important to do your job.
‘So, in terms of arrogance that has nothing to do with us that is planning and preparation for our staff. I had no idea where we were headed or where we were going, or how we were going to get here yesterday. They think of that so we don’t have to.’