Kirby broke down in tears after the win, which secured passage to the knockout stage, and the manager said ‘today we shared their emotion’
Phil Neville paid tribute to England duo Fran Kirby and Carly Telford at the end of an ’emotional day’ after the Lionesses sealed a place in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 win over Argentina in Le Havre.
Jodie Taylor scored England’s winner just after the hour mark, who had earlier seen Nikita Parris’ penalty saved by Argentina goalkeeper Vanina Correa.
Following the clash at the Stade Oceane, which made it six points from two matches in Group D for Neville’s side, the 42-year-old comforted an emotional-looking Kirby.
The Lionesses boss explained how Friday would have been the birthday of the forward’s late mother, who died when Kirby was 14.
“We’re a family. We were aware today it was Fran’s mum’s birthday,” he said.
“It’s been well documented, her love and the affection she has for her mother and how much she misses her.”
The former Manchester and Everton midfielder also made reference to goalkeeper Carly Telford, who made her World Cup debut in the match. Telford lost her mother to cancer last year.
He added: “We had Carly Telford, who lost her mother as well, and she made her World Cup debut today after being in many a World Cup squad (this is her third World Cup) and never getting on the pitch.
“In the huddle at the end, 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 has been really an emotional day for everybody.
“Fran is a special person who misses her mum, and so does Carly Telford.
“So today we shared their emotion, their happiness, and their sadness.”