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Outgoing coach Neville rallies Roses to win bronze in Liverpool

Neville is stepping down but has not ruled out returning to work with England in the future.

England closed out Tracey Neville's four-year reign with an emphatic but bittersweet win over South Africa to secure their third straight Netball World Cup bronze medal.

Coach Neville, who confirmed her intention to step down after the tournament, rallied her team for one last time, less than 24 hours after their painful three-goal defeat to New Zealand had dashed hopes of appearing in a home world final in Liverpool.

An evidently emotional Neville, who did not rule out returning to the national set-up in a different capacity in the future, paid tribute to her players after a slick 58-42 success which only served to accentuate the painful sense of what might have been.

Netball World Cup 2019 – Day Ten – M&S Bank Arena
England coach Tracey Neville bade an emotional farewell (Nigel French/PA)

Neville said: "The girls were absolutely gutted after the semi-final and so was I. We didn't deliver the performance that we had been doing through the tournament, so to turn it around overnight was absolutely phenomenal.

"I am just so pleased with the way they came out and showed the culture of the team and the fact that one game doesn't get them down. That is a massive plus for this team."

Gone was the error-strewn performance against the Silver Ferns as Neville's team established a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter and continued to build their advantage against a team whom they had beaten by nine points earlier in the tournament, one who pushed Australia agonisingly close in their own last-four clash.

Goal shooter Helen Housby finished with a perfect record of 29 goals from her 29 attempts as the South Africans, despite the return of influential wing attack Bongiwe Msomi, who missed much of the first game due to injury, were cut adrift by seven points by the half-way stage.

With the match safely won, influential captain Serena Guthrie was cheered when she was replaced with two minutes remaining, and she shared a lingering hug with Neville at courtside.

If the final medal colour was the same as it has been since 2011 for England, those raucous final moments served to illustrate just how far Neville has brought her squad, and the domestic sport as a whole, since she started in the role four years ago.

Netball World Cup 2019 – Day Seven – M&S Bank Arena
Geva Mentor is among the England players who may consider their future (Nigel French/PA)

With most of the squad keen to take a break and some, including Jade Clarke and Geva Mentor, unlikely to feature in the defence of the Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham, Neville leaves her successor with both a rich legacy and a mighty rebuilding task amid such heightened expectations.

"This will be my last one for the moment," confirmed Neville. "I do need to take a career break. I have got some personal goals I want to achieve, and while I am in this role I am not able to achieve that.

"However, I have been a part of this system for 20 years and I want to be part of it again. I don't know in what capacity, because hopefully the next coach that comes in will take the baton and continue this roller coaster."

Jo Harten
Jo Harten has hailed the impact the Netball World Cup has had on the sport (Nigel French/PA)

With a total of over 100,000 tickets sold for England's matches throughout the tournament, the frustration felt by the players in failing to reach what would have been their first World Cup final since 1975 is eased by the palpable evidence of the unprecedented health of their sport.

Goal shooter Jo Harten, who shrugged off a personally disappointing semi-final to top-score with 29 against the South Africans, said: "I think we've gone to another level – not just this week but in the last 18 months, we've lifted the game and we've lifted the profile.

"We're really proud of what we've done. Obviously we didn't come for the bronze medal but it's so exciting to have all these little girls in this stadium on a Sunday afternoon screaming for our players. That is what I want to see because I was one of them 20 years ago."

New Zealand capped a remarkable revival after failing to medal at last year's Commonwealth Games as they withstood a fightback to edge Australia 52-51 in the final and claim their first world title since 2003.

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Tracey Neville pictured on July 21, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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