Norway 0-3 England: Lionesses seal Women’s World Cup semi-final spot

Norway 0-3 England: Lucy Bronze caps emphatic victory with fantastic strike after goals from Jill Scott and Ellen White as Lionesses set up Women’s World Cup semi-final against France or United States

  • England got off to the perfect start thanks to Jill Scott’s well-worked goal in just the third minute in Le Havre 
  • Ellen White, England’s top goalscorer at the World Cup, then smashed the post after a fine first-time effort 
  • White was then rewarded after tapping home from a couple of yards out for England’s second of the game 
  • Lucy Bronze put the result beyond doubt with a fantastic long-range strike in the 57th minute on Thursday  
  • Nikita Parris could have added a fourth late on from the penalty spot but Ingrid Hjelmseth saved her effort
  • RECAP: Relive all the action from England’s routine quarter-final victory against Norway in Le Havre 

The look on David Beckham’s face, from his place in the VIP seats, told you that he had just witnessed something you do not see every day and most certainly not in a World Cup quarter-final.

Lucy Bronze’s first-time strike — strong, true and the measure of world class, just before the hour mark — was certainly straight out of his playbook and bore an uncanny resemblance to the one she struck against the same opposition in the World Cup round of 16 four years ago.

But this contribution went far beyond what the iconic No 7 delivered down so many years. Bronze supplied defensive resilience, impeccable tackles and more of the intuitive understanding with Nikita Parris which makes you wonder how on earth a club of Manchester City’s wealth has allowed them to leave for Lyon.

Lucy Bronze produced the moment of the match with a fierce right-footed strike from outside the area to make it 3-0

Bronze smashes the ball powerfully towards goal, leaving Norway goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth with no chance

The England defender’s brilliant effort rockets into the roof of the net after beating Hjelmseth with too much pace

The right-back is mobbed by her team-mates after putting the result beyond doubt in Le Havre on Thursday evening

The Lyon defender high-fives her team-mates following her brilliant first-time strike during the second period

David Beckham, who was in attendance during the quarter-final, celebrates Bronze’s emphatic strike on Thursday

Norway (4-4-2): Hjelmseth 5.5; Wold 5 (S Hansen 85); Mjelde 5.5; Thorisdottir 5.5; Minde 5; Saevik 5 (Utland 64, 5); Risa 4.5; Engen 4.5; Reiten 5.5 (Eikeland 74, 5); C Hansen 5; Herlovsen 5.5 

Booked: Thorisdottir

England (4-1-4-1): Bardsley 7; Bronze 9; Houghton 8.5; Bright 8; Stokes 7; Walsh 6; Parris 7.5 (Daly 88); Scott 7.5; Kirby 7 (Stanway 74, 6); Duggan 5.5 (Mead 54, 6.5); White 7.5

Manager: Phil Neville 8 

Scorers: Scott 3, White 40, Bronze 57 

 

It means Phil Neville’s side have achieved what they came here for. They were not impeccable. Their clumsiness in position is maddening at times. But they made the world’s No 12 nation look very ordinary as they lined up a titanic semi-final against France or the United States.

It was hard to tell whether Beckham’s presence in the stadium, with his mother, Sandra, and daughter, Harper, was a positive omen. Beckham lived through the agony of quarter final elimination twice with England, in 2002 and 2006. That was as far as he ever progressed at the tournament. But his presence here, helping out his old friend Neville, did contribute to the same inestimable team spirit which has helped carry the team through this tournament.

The impediments to progress were not as grave as the manager’s pre-match bulletin had implied. Millie Bright, victim of the sickness bug in the camp, started, along with Steph Houghton, who had never seemed likely to allow the studs of a Cameroon player to stand before her and this hugely significant moment.

It took Bronze, who missed training a few days ago with illness, three minutes to demonstrate that the idea of her being at less than optimum level was also plainly ridiculous.

She is the gold standard of this England team, a full back operating on another level to anyone else in this tournament, and the 30-yard run down England’s right which set them on their way — power with elegance — reflected just that.

Ellen White doubled England’s advantage in the 40th minute following an impressive team move at Stade Oceane

The 30-year-old produces her trademark celebration after becoming the joint top scorer at the 2019 Women’s World Cup

White taps home from a couple of yards out following fine play down the right from Nikita Parris near the end of the first half

The striker runs over to celebrate with England’s substitutes after putting them into a commanding position against Norway

Jill Scott got England off to the perfect start, firing home the opener in just the third minute with a smart right-footed finish

After White failed to make connection with the ball, Scott was on hand to slot home into the bottom corner off the post

The goalscorer, England’s most ever capped player at a World Cup, is mobbed by her team-mates after breaking the deadlock

Scott has become only the second ever player to score in three separate Women’s World Cup tournaments for England

The young Norway holding midfielder Ingrid Engen has impressed at this tournament but Bronze took the ball along the dead ball line and beyond her. Ellen White’s uncharacteristic air shot from the ball Bronze cut back was Jill Scott’s opportunity to convert. Within two minutes Bronze was making a tackle of impeccable timing on Isabell Herlovsen, on her own byline.

Norway’s defence was exploitable by an England side who cut through it with an ease they had not encountered at any previous stage of this tournament — and who should have been out of sight by half-time. Parris has still not delivered the rapier finish we have expected in this tournament. She had done the complicated part when Houghton and Scott had cut a path through the central areas and found her, cutting the ball back behind Ingrid Wold to make shooting distance five yards out in the area. She fired two yards wide.

White, carrying the Michael Owen tag Neville had bestowed on her into those match, found the ball sitting up for her in the penalty area of an opposition who were listing badly, stunned by England’s passing combinations. She struck the upright.

The profligacy made the significant second goal a source of unmitigated relief to White, who almost forgot her ‘goggles’ celebration. Neville’s devastating right flank operators were at the axis again — Parris dropping deep this time to collect a Houghton pass and locate Bronze, who crossed for White to tap home.

On days when the going is far tougher than this, it is England’s capacity to surrender up position at the back of midfield which could cause them untold trouble. That pattern is so frequent that you wonder whether Neville’s mantra about the passing being ‘non-negotiable’ is really so wise.

Bronze did brilliantly down the right flank to beat her opposition before drilling in the ball for Scott to sweep ball home

Nikita Parris had the chance to make it 4-0 near the end of the match but she saw her penalty saved well by Hjelmseth

The 25-year-old reacts after missing her penalty in the 83rd minute in Le Havre against a tired Norwegian outfit

White came so close to extending England’s lead to 2-0 after her first-time right-footed effort smashed the post

The England and Manchester City striker watches on as her fine effort agonisingly strikes the woodwork on Thursday

Pick any one of the half dozen times the Norwegians were gifted possession: they were all a source of angst. Keira Walsh was a serial offender in the first half, so too Bright and even goalkeeper Karen Bardsley came close to gifting Herlovsen an opportunity. It took the presence of mind of Demi Stokes, back in the side at Alex Greenwood’s expense and impressive, to see off the worst of the dangers.

It took the very best of Houghton to prevent Norway finally capitalising after the break. Maren Mjelde lifted a ball into the area and Caroline Graham Hansen got in between both centre-backs but the captain read the ball impeccably and shepherded it out of play.

Bright played her second terrible back pass of the night to Bardsley, who charged off her line and was beaten to the ball by substitute Lisa-Marie Utland. Again, Houghton needed an impeccable goal-line clearance. She was then then caught out by a long ball and Bardsley made the save.

Neville winced and Parris missed a penalty for a push in the back of Houghton. But with Bronze, Houghton and Scott operating like this, there are grounds for belief. Bronze has always claimed that that goal she scored in the last 2-1 win over Norway contributed to her being considered a world class player. Thursday night’s affirmed the fact.

Parris argues with Norway’s Maria Maria Thorisdottir as both teams battled it out for the World Cup semi-final spot

Lionesses manager Phil Neville gives instructions to his players following their dream start in the last-eight encounter 

The Lionesses huddle together as Steph Houghton gives some final inspiring words ahead of the quarter-final in France






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