England manager Phil Neville was full of praise for his side's togetherness in the wake of their 1-0 win over Argentina, insisting that his group of players have been like a family on what was an emotional day for the Lionesses.
For midfielder Fran Kirby, Friday's match coincided with her late mother's birthday, and the Chelsea star was seen being consoled by her teammates and manager in the aftermath of their win in Le Havre.
“It’s a bit of an emotional day for me today its my mums birthday. I’ve held it in all day and I’ve finally been able to get it out, and to get the win as well and qualify just made it extra special for me. Phil was just telling me how proud she would be of me.” ❤️ @frankirby pic.twitter.com/SmFpswMWVW— 90min (@90min_Football) June 14, 2019
Speaking about their exchange at full-time, as well as World Cup debutant Carly Telford who sadly lost her mother to cancer last year, England manager Neville shed some light on what was said during a touching team huddle at the end of the match.
"We're a family," Neville said, quoted by the Manchester Evening News. "We were aware today (Friday) that it was Fran's mum's birthday. It's been well documented, her love, and the affection that she has for her mother, and how much she misses her.
"We had Carly Telford who lost her mother this [past] year as well. Carly made her World Cup debut today after being in many, many a World Cup squad, many a European Championship squad and never having to get on the pitch.
"I think in the huddle at the end, what we did, we made reference to the fact that we hope their two mums were looking down on them, they were very proud of their performances.
"I thought Fran was outstanding tonight. We help each other, today's been a really emotional day today for everybody. Fran is a special person who misses her mum, and so too does Carly Telford.
"We shared their emotion, we shared their happiness, and we shared their sadness."
England's win against Argentina on Friday ensured that the Lionesses have qualified for the knockout stages of the Women's World Cup.
Just top spot is left to play for in Group D, with Neville's side set for a straight shootout with Japan for that place on matchday three.