Ellen White says she felt overwhelming pride for her England teammates, after the Lionesses bowed out of the Women’s World Cup with defeat to reigning Champions the USA.
The striker netted her sixth goal of the tournament to cancel out Christen Press’ opener, but Alex Morgan struck on her birthday to send the holders through to Sunday’s Final.
White also had a goal ruled out for offside, while Steph Houghton saw a late penalty saved and Millie Bright was sent off, in a dramatic and ultimately, heartbreaking finale for Phil Neville’s side in Lyon.
SHOP: PUMA 2019/20 City kits
In an emotional post-match interview, the Lionesses top scorer expressed admiration for her side’s heart, efforts and performance.
“I’m devastated not to get to the Final,” she admitted, “but all I feel is pride for my teammates. We gave everything.
“The USA produced an amazing match and we couldn’t quite match them.
“In the first half, we were sloppy but we got ourselves back into the game with the goal.
“In the second half, we tried to play. We created chances and we’re bitterly disappointed not to reach the Final.
“We’ve got an unbelievable squad and we had so much belief going into the game and into the tournament that we could reach the Final.
“We just couldn’t quite do it on the night.”
White has been in exceptional form, netting six goals in as many games to become England’s all-time record Women’s World Cup goalscorer, and was unfortunate not to add to her tally with a goal chalked off by VAR on 70 minutes.
“I’m disappointed with the offside goal,” she added, “but I’m proud to be English and I wish the USA the best of luck in the Final.”
White also reserved words of encouragement for captain and close friend Houghton, following Alyssa Naeher’s penalty save, as well as defender Bright.
The striker hailed her skipper’s bravery for taking responsibility for the spot-kick.
“Always, for the person stepping up to take the penalty, it takes courage,” she stated.
“That happens – ‘keepers save penalties. It happens in games; in football.
“We will never put anything on Steph. She’s our leader.
“Millie has played magnificently throughout the tournament.
“We’ll all rally round and get ready for Saturday.
“Fair play to the USA. We’ll look forward to the Third Place Play-Off Final.”
Houghton herself reflected: "I'm heartbroken but I'm very proud of the team because we fought so hard in this tournament.
"I got told today that I was on the penalties and I was confident because I had been scoring all week but I didn't connect with it properly and the goalkeeper guessed the right way.
"It was so close against the best team in the world but we are so disappointed.
"I thought we were the better side in terms of how we played football but ultimately, lapses in concentration cost us."