Women's World Cup: American Soccer Team Is 'So Arrogant' Even the French Want England to Win

American fans will outnumber their English counterparts in Lyon on Tuesday but Phil Neville believes the U.S. women's national team (USWNT) could still face a hostile crowd when the two teams meet in the World Cup semifinal.

The defending champions play the Lionesses in the World Cup semifinal and French newspaper Le Progrès suggested there were about 20,000 U.S. fans in Lyon, compared to 2,500 English supporters.

However, Neville believes his team will have the neutrals' backing and that French fans are fully behind his team.

"We're the French second team now," he said in his pre-game press conference on Monday. "Now that their team are out they're supporting us, so we'll have the crowd on our side. The French people have got behind the story of our football. We are the team the French public want to win. The French support has been incredible."

Given USWNT eliminated France in the quarterfinals and is the team to beat, it doesn't take a lot of mental gymnastics to understand why the locals would rather see England reach the World Cup final.

All the same, given the sporting rivalry between England and France, Neville's words sounded somewhat surprising.

English newspaper Daily Mail seized on the comments, suggesting the Americans have brought it upon themselves to be the team everyone wants to see failing.

"The U.S. have had something of an image problem ever since they effusively celebrated all of the 13 goals they put past Thailand in their opening match."

Up 3-0 at halftime, Team USA scored 10 second-half goals and the players' reaction to each goal was vehemently criticized.

USWNT captain Megan Rapinoe and forward Alex Morgan defended the performance, suggesting the team was simply trying to improve its goal difference but the celebrations left a bitter taste in the mouths of many analysts.

USWNT, Women's World Cup
United States players celebrate after defeating France during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Quarter Final match between France and the USA at Parc des Princes on June 28 in Paris, France. Marcio Machado/Getty

As the birthplace of soccer, England has often being accused of arrogance and a misplaced sense of superiority has repeatedly being blamed for the men's team failure to reach the final of a major tournament since 1966.

When it comes to the women's game, however, England finds itself in the unusual position of being the underdog and Neville's players have repeatedly spoken of the need to remain grounded.

"England captain Steph Houghton spoke yet again on Sunday about the importance of humility to England," the Mail continued.

"It is a very hard commodity to locate in the U.S. team who are seeking to win an unprecedented fourth World Cup here."

There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance and if the U.S. have erred on the wrong side of it, they have done so with some justification.

USWNT is chasing an unprecedented fourth World Cup, it qualified from the group stages by scoring a tournament record 18 goals without conceding any and it has eliminated the hosts in the quarterfinals.

Away from the field, no other team in women's soccer commands the same amount of attention USWNT does and its commercial profile dwarfs that of its rivals. On Monday, Nike's CEO Mark Parker said the team's shirt was the biggest selling soccer jersey in the company's history.

If they beat England and go on to lift the World Cup, the Americans are unlikely to care about how they are perceived.

Women's World Cup: American Soccer Team Is 'So Arrogant' Even the French Want England to Win | Sports