The former Manchester United coach made his co-commentary debut for the game in Manaus, and certainly didn't have the liveliest delivery style, even if his actual analysis was generally pretty good.
However, that didn't stop the easily-outraged of the nation calling in, with a BBC spokesperson telling the Guardian that 445 people have phoned up to complain about Neville's punditry.
Neville came in for plenty of criticism on Twitter, but seemed to have a sense of humour about the whole thing himself.
1st live co-comm last night-sometimes u have to take the criticism - it will only make me better- thanks for the feedback(ahhahaha)!
— Philip Neville (@fizzer18) June 15, 2014
The BBC said Neville is “an important, well-respected member of our team” and “would continue to play a key role throughout the tournament”.
And we've got a lot of sympathy for that point of view. Really, quite why a grown adult human being would take the time to complain about a pundit with a slightly boring voice is unclear.
But complain they do. And in droves.
There are lots of villains in this story, but Neville isn't one of them.
Top of the list, of course, are the people who have enough time on their hands to find the BBC's complaints division phone number, dial it, and speak to a person to complain about something so ludicrously inconsequential.
But a large share of the blame must be for the BBC themselves, since in their wisdom they decision to make Neville's first job - his first EVER job in broadcasting, let's be clear - was for probably the single biggest group stage match of England's World Cup.
Of course it would. But not many people bothered to think that through on Twitter during and after the match, instead just piling in and slating his lack of vocal dynamism:
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) June 14, 2014
Even fellow sports-stars-turned-broadcasters, who you'd think would know better, stuck the boot in:
— Matthew Pinsent (@matthewcpinsent) June 14, 2014
Neville's display also inspired a new parody account: Boring Phil Neville, inspired by the now famous Boring James Milner spoof Twitter account.
A player just took a shot. He missed. It was close. Might have a Horlicks. — Boring Phil Neville (@BoringNev) June 14, 2014
Well done lads. We play another team next game.
— Boring Phil Neville (@BoringNev) June 14, 2014
But not everybody was so cruel. From the most surprising of sources, Neville had some unlikely celebrity backing:
The 450 people that bothered to seriously complain to the BBC about Phil Neville's commentary are a hundred times more boring than him. — Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 16, 2014
Let's hope that Ricky Gervais can spark a backlash against the backlash. The campaign starts here: let's have Phil Neville co-commentating on every England match for the rest of the tournament!
- Sports & Recreation
- Phil Neville