London - An attempt by England's governing Football Association to tweet its praise for their bronze medal-winning team at the Women's World Cup backfired on Monday after it said the Lionesses could now "go back to being mothers, partners and daughters".
Monday's post was soon deleted after criticism it was patronising to a group of players who had just achieved England's best finish at a Women's World Cup.
Mark Sampson's team beat top-ranked Germany for the first time with a 1-0 third-place play-off win on Saturday, and many of the Lionesses are set to feature in the English Women's Super League as soon as Saturday.
The original post on the official @england Twitter account said: "Our #Lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today, but they have taken on another title - heroes."
One response said: "So they've stopped being inspiring, successful footballers now? Massive own-goal from @england there."
Another said: "Do male players return to be fathers and husbands?"
FA officials insisted all the "unfortunately phrased" tweet had meant to convey was the fact that the players were returning home after more than a month away on international duty.
An FA spokesperson said the tweet had been deleted and the story it was linked to had been altered.
"The full story was a wider homecoming feature attempting to reflect the many personal stories within the playing squad as has been told throughout the course of the tournament," the spokesperson explained.
"However, we understand that an element of the story appears to have been taken out of context and the opening paragraph was subsequently revised to reflect that fact."