England women set for grudge match against Wales – Neville
England women’s coach Phil Neville is preparing for a “grudge match” when they play Wales on Friday.
Neville’s Lionesses need to win in Newport to guarantee qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
The sides drew the reverse fixture 0-0 in Southampton in March.
“It is billed as a grudge match, and that’s part of their motivation. We are going to be have to play out our very best to get a result,” Neville, 41, told BBC Sport.
“There is rivalry and tension and that shows how far the women’s game has come.
“There is a little bit of needle between both teams. Four years ago, we wouldn’t have had this kind of build-up.
“People are talking as if we are already there [at the World Cup] and we are not. We will need to play like the fourth-best side in the world to get a result on Friday.”
Neville expects his squad to carry out their game plan better than they did at St Mary’s Stadium. Wales, ranked 30 places below England in the world rankings, defended deeply in that game to frustrate their opponents and remain unbeaten in the qualifying group, without conceding a goal after seven games.
Defeat for England will end their chances of automatic qualification, but a draw would mean they will top the group with victory in Kazakhstan on 4 September, and the former Manchester United and Everton player said he “relishes” the task he faces.
Neville said: “It’s not about me. I don’t feel the pressure. I wanted to become a manager for big games like this.
“This game won’t define me as a manager win or lose. You don’t become a good or a bad manager overnight. It’s about the players on the field and them sticking to the game plan that we’ve been working on all week. “