Security approached a ‘spy’ who was watching England Women train for World Cup semi-final

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England will make history if they manage to defeat the United States in their World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

A win over the defending champions would see the Lionesses reach the competition finale for the first time, equalling their achievement at the 2009 European Championships.

After strolling into the knockout phase with three wins over Scotland, Argentina and Japan in Group D, Phil Neville’s side have only improved.

England swept aside Cameroon 3-0 to set up last Thursday’s quarter-final meeting against Norway, which ended in a comfortable victory by the same scoreline.

The USA, however, represent a calibre of opponent they haven’t yet faced on their run to the final four.

Optimum preparation for such a crunch fixture demands minimal distractions, so the events of the past 48 hours can only be described as less than ideal.

Off the back of two American team officials infiltrating private areas of the Lioness’ hotel on the weekend, The Sun today claims security had to respond to an individual 'spying' on an England training session.

According to the report, a man was seen ‘loitering’ among the trees overlooking one of the Limonest pitches, from where he took photos and spoke on the phone.

Speaking to the media about the first incident, Neville said: “It's not an unfair advantage; it'll have no bearing on the game," per The Sun.

"I actually found it quite funny. I just thought: ‘What are they doing?’ It's not etiquette really, is it?

“The only thing I would say is it's not something that I would want my team ops person doing.

“We're happy with our hotel. So I hope they enjoyed the hotel.”

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US boss Jill Ellis denies any wrongdoing in relation to their presence at the England camp, suggesting the expedition was nothing more than innocent reconnaissance.

“I would assume everybody is doing that. You have to plan ahead,” she said.

“The only ones who went were the team administrator and her boss. It’s nothing to do with arrogance. It’s planning and preparation.”

USA Training & Press Conference - FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019

In response to those comments, Neville wasn’t shy about expressing his disapproval.

“I’m sure Jill wouldn’t have been happy.

“I certainly wouldn’t have been if it was my team official.

“I am sure she will be dealing with that infrastructure within her discipline.”

The subplot probably isn’t one that either manager wanted to wrestle with in the lead up to a World Cup semi-final, but it’s hard to deny it adds some extra spice an already enticing fixture.

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