Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa admits his team lost their temper in their 3-0 Women’s World Cup defeat by England but says they “never refused to play”.
There was an on-pitch protest by Cameroon’s players after England’s second goal, by Ellen White, was awarded by the video assistant referee.
Djeumfa described the last-16 match in Valenciennes as a “miscarriage of justice”.
But he said: “I don’t think we ever stopped and refused to play.”
Cameroon were also visibly upset when, with the score at 2-0, Ajara Nchout’s goal was ruled out for offside, another decision that went in England’s favour via VAR.
But they were fortunate to finish the game with 11 players on the pitch after Yvonne Leuko was booked for an apparent elbow on England winger Nikita Parris, Augustine Ejangue spat on Toni Duggan and Alexandra Takounda was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on captain Steph Houghton in stoppage time.
England head coach Phil Neville said after the game that he was “ashamed” by Cameroon’s behaviour.
Djeumfa added: “Occasionally, when you are in this state of shock, you can lose your cool, but I don’t think the players ever refused to play the game.
“Yes, we might have had the moment to walk off, but thanks to God I was able to remain calm. I was ultimately able to keep my cool.
“Ultimately there was a lot of passion out there.”
Houghton struck England’s opener from an indirect free-kick awarded after goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom picked up a backpass from Ejangue, a decision Djeumfa suggested was incorrect.
Alex Greenwood later added a third to complete England’s win.
“Occasionally referees make mistakes, but ultimately the referee made a lot of mistakes tonight,” Djeumfa said.
“Unfortunately we had a goal disallowed and if we had halved the deficit, I really believe there would have been a different result come the end of the game if that goal had been allowed.
“Once we conceded the opening goal in the 14th minute, when there was an indirect free-kick inside the area, that was the wrong decision and then we realised it was slipping away, and then we realised we had to make sure we didn’t concede in the opening 20 minutes.
“Unfortunately the officials wanted something else.
“From that moment on, the girls perhaps just lost a bit of temper. But I think we need to take our hat off to the girls, despite the refereeing mistake, for their performance.
“Of course I’m frustrated. But as I said, football is all about fair play. We showed fair play. It’s football.”
You have to look at it both ways – analysis
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo on BBC Radio 5 Live
This Cameroon team, they don’t have the resources. They don’t have the quality coaching in their country, they don’t have the experience like England or somebody like Phil Neville.
So your heart has to go out a little bit to this Cameroon side. They played with emotions and brought this emotion to the tournament.
As much as we want to see a little bit more class from Cameroon, they did bring that beautiful emotion and packed this entire stadium.
You have to look at it both ways.
Women’s World Cup: ‘We didn’t refuse to play’ – Cameroon coach