England goalkeeper Carly Telford insists that there's no ill-feeling in the England camp towards Steph Houghton, after she missed a late penalty in her side’s World Cup semi-final defeat to the USA.
Houghton saw her tame 84th-minute penalty saved as England went down 2-1 the USA.
England also had a goal disallowed after a VAR review proved that it was marginally offside but it was that penalty miss, England’s third of the tournament, that proved to be decisive.
Phil Neville’s team must now settle for bronze medal play-off match but Telford has nothing but admiration for Houghton, for having the courage to step up and take the spot-kick.
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Speaking to RTÉ Sport, she said: "In that moment I just have to take my hat off to Steph. It’s the biggest moment in her career and she knew that were probably 10 million people back home resting on that moment.
"The fact that she picked up the ball and said 'I’m going to take charge of this moment’ is inspirational for me. Unfortunately she missed it.
"Penalties are 50/50. If the keeper goes the wrong way, it’s a great penalty but she goes the right way, saves it and she’s a hero and that’s just how football is. That’s what we live for and that’s why it’s the best game in the world."
England looked to be in control for periods of the game but Telford pointed to a 30-minute spell in the first half, when the USA dominated, as ultimately being the difference between the two sides.
"It’s devastating, I don’t think there’s any other words for it - heart-breaking," she said. "It’s not how we thought the journey was going to end but here we are.
"For us there was probably a 20 or 30-minute spell in the first-half where we didn’t manage the game well enough.
"We gave them areas of the pitch where we knew they were going to be dangerous and they punished us and you can’t do that in the semi-final of a World Cup.
"For the neutrals, for the people who wanted a great game of football, I think you got that. It was end-to-end, there was all sorts going on but at the end of the day you want to be on that winning side no matter what.
"Look I hope there’s a lot of young girls and boys who are now picking up an England shirt, picking up a football and going into their gardens and playing football. That’s also an important message for us."