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England women beat France 4-1 in Neville's coaching debut

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03rd-Mar-2018       
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AP, Columbus :
Phil Neville answered critics with a win in his first match as England's women's coach.
England routed France 4-1 Thursday in the opener of the SheBelieves Cup behind first-half goals from Toni Duggan, Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor.
"It was a really pleasing performance, and I think we all enjoyed it," Neville said.
He made 59 appearances for England from 1996-2007 and won six Premier League titles with Manchester United before moving to Everton. He was hired by The Football Association on Jan. 23, 1½ years ahead of the Women's World Cup, and wome criticized the move because of Neville's lack of head coaching experience.
Since retiring a player after the 2012-13 season, he had worked as a commentator and as first-team coach at Manchester United and as an assistant at Valencia. He is the younger brother of former Manchester United captain Gary Neville.
"It's not about me. I know my qualities," Phil Neville said. "I've said that from day one. I knew what I wanted from these players, and the players did it today. Full credit to the team."
Phil Neville, 41, replaced Mark Sampson, fired over allegations of racism and sex discrimination.
"It's been a difficult year," Duggan said. "No one is going to hide from that. In the light of the position we're in, great win for Phil in his debut game. What better way to get off to a good start?"
Third-ranked England built a 3-0 halftime lead on goals by Duggan in the seventh minute, Scott in the 28th and Taylor in the 39th. Fran Kirby boosted the lead in the 46th. Gaetene Thiney scored for in the 77th for sixth-ranked France.
"We're in a bit of a transition, with a new manager coming in and trying new things. I think we can't get ahead of ourselves," Kirby said.
Corinne Diacre, a French national team defender from 1993-2005, took over as her national team's coach on Aug. 30.
The tournament also includes the top-ranked United States and No. 2 Germany.

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