Last Updated: 04/07/19 11:19pm
Steph Houghton is England’s leader and hero and should not be blamed for failing to score from the penalty spot in the 2-1 Women’s World Cup semi-final loss to USA, according to Ellen White.
The England skipper saw an 84th-minute penalty saved by Alyssa Naeher as England exited the World Cup at the semi-final stage, making it three major tournaments in a row that they have lost in the last four.
White had made it 1-1 after Christen Press’ opener before Alex Morgan scored what would ultimately prove to be USA’s winner.
As well as being team-mates, White and Houghton are very close off the field, and England’s goal-heroine says the captain will bounce back and spearhead England’s attempt to win back-to-back Women’s World Cup bronze medals.
“[Houghton] is the type of person that will hold herself accountable for us losing but we’d never blame anyone, we’d never blame our team-mate,” White told Sky Sports News.
“For us, she is our hero. She is our leader. She’s done goal-line clearances, she’s done ridiculous tackles that nobody in the world can do,
“She’s been unbelievable this tournament, and we would never ever blame her or anyone individually in this team. And for her to step up and take that penalty is courageous.
“I think we’ve all tried to rally around her but she will always hold things on her shoulders – that’s who she is.
“But she will always be our leader and she will be focused on leading the team for the bronze medal match. Hopefully we can get the result not just for the team but for her as well.”
White is the joint top scorer at this year’s Women’s World Cup alongside USA striker Morgan on six goals.
Her goal against the US made White the first English player in history to score in five consecutive FIFA World Cup appearances and the striker admits it would be amazing if she could win the tournament’s golden boot.
“I’m really proud to have scored six goals for my country in a tournament. That’s incredible,” she said.
“I don’t think I’ll fully understand it until I get home and I reflect, but I’ve said time and time again – I would give everything up to be in that final and be fighting for a gold medal.
“So I am really proud, but for me, any way that I can contribute for the team is my priority and if I’m playing or not come the bronze medal match the priority is the team winning and getting bronze.
“I’ve tried to keep it at the back of my head but it would be an amazing achievement.”