Norway 0-3 England: Slick Lionesses sail into Women's World Cup semi-finals
Jill Scott, Ellen White and Lucy Bronze send Lionesses through
Last Updated: 28/06/19 6:42pm
A slick performance from England saw them sail into the Women's World Cup semi-finals with a 3-0 win against Norway in Le Havre.
The Lionesses showed no ill-effects from their tumultuous game against Cameroon in the last 16 and took the lead inside three minutes as Jill Scott's effort diverted in off the post.
Ellen White (40) added the second just before the break - becoming England's top scorer in a single World Cup with her fifth goal of the tournament - before Lucy Bronze (56) powered home from 25 yards. Nikita Parris could have made it four as England were awarded a late penalty, but saw her effort saved by Norway goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth.
However, the Lionesses already had their place in the final four sewn up, making the World Cup semi-finals for a second successive tournament.
How England bulldozed Norway
It was a strong England start and they took the lead inside three minutes. Bronze produced a sensational overlapping run down the right wing, before firing in an inviting cross. White swung and missed the ball, but Scott was waiting just behind to side foot it onto the post and into the far corner.
Bronze was involved once again in the 21st minute as she played in Parris down the right-hand side, but the latter's strike with her left foot - after expertly rounding her defender - curled past the post. Not long after, England hit the woodwork as White's half-volley could only find the post before going wide.
Norway: Hjelmseth (6), Moe Wold (6), Mjelbe (6), Thorisdottir (6), Minde (6), Saevik (6), Boe Risa (7), Engen (6), Reiten (6), Graham (6), Herlovsen (6).
Subs used: Utland (5), Eikeland (5), Hansen (n/a).
England: Bardsley (8), Bronze (9), Bright (7), Houghton (8), Stokes (7), Walsh (6), Scott (8), Kirby (7), Parris (7), White (8), Duggan (7).
Subs used: Mead (7), Stanway (6), Daly (n/a).
Player of the match: Lucy Bronze.
Norway had a penalty appeal dismissed just after the half an hour mark. Guro Reiten's lashed effort from the top of the area hit Demi Stokes on her leg, and subsequently her arm, but neither the referee or VAR reviewed the claim.
But England doubled their lead in the 40th minute as White became an England record-breaker. She linked up with Parris again, with the new Lyon forward pulling the ball back for White to slot home past Hjelmseth. It was her sixth World Cup goal, overtaking Fara Williams (5) for the most goals scored for England at the competition.
Steph Houghton and Millie Bright were both fit to start in England's defence, with Phil Neville making one other change as Demi Stokes replaced Alex Greenwood at left-back.
Norway almost got a goal back within 90 seconds of the restart. Isabell Herlovsen nodded a Kristine Minde ball back across goal, but despite Caroline Hansen being unmarked, she waited too long to strike which allowed Steph Houghton in to clear.
England were not to be shaken though and made it three in the 57th minute. Beth Mead cut a free kick back to the waiting Bronze at the top of the area, who fired a fierce effort through a packed box and the hands of goalkeeper Hjelmseth. Norway were made to pay for a lack of concentration, with England using the free-kick routine for the third time in the game.
Norway did manage to get in on occasion, though, after some suspect England defending. A poor back pass from Millie Bright allowed Karina Saevik through. Karen Bardsley came out to stop her with a swipe at the legs, but Saevik stayed on her feet to get into a striking position with her eventual effort was seen away brilliantly by Houghton on the line.
England could have made it four as the game enter the final stages when Maria Thorisdottir was penalised for a push on Houghton and the Lionesses were awarded a penalty. After missing from the spot against Argentina in the group stages, Parris was brave to step up again but as she struck it to her left, Hjelmseth made a fine, leaping save to keep her at bay.
Norway offered little else as England saw the game out with ease to confirm their place in the semi-finals at the Stade des Lumieres in Lyon.
Bronze came into the tournament billed as the world's best right-back and she's grown into that title as the tournament has gone on.
She completed more take-ons than the entire Norway team before half-time, got a goal and an assist and was solid defensively against a decent attacking left-back in Kristine Minde.
Manager Phil Neville continued to sing her praises after the game, telling the BBC: "What you have seen tonight is that Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world: there is no player like her in the world, no player who has her athleticism and quality. I played full-back but never to that level she played at."
- Norway have been eliminated from the Women's World Cup by England in consecutive tournaments (also 2015 last 16); England are the second nation to knock them out of more than one edition of the competition (also USA, 1991 and 2003).
- Ellen White is the second English player to score in four consecutive FIFA World Cup appearances after Gary Lineker between 1986 and 1990 - she is the first English player to do so in a single edition.
- Jill Scott scored the opener after two minutes and six seconds for England - the fastest goal ever scored by the Lionesses at a Women's World Cup, as well as being the earliest scored in this edition of the tournament.
- Jill Scott (2007, 2011 and 2019) is only the second ever player to score in three separate Women's World Cup tournaments for England, after Fara Williams (2007, 2011 and 2015).
- Lucy Bronze became the first England player to both score and assist a goal in the same Women's World Cup game since Jill Scott against New Zealand in 2011; all five of her goal involvements at the tournament have been in the knockout stages (three goals, two assists).
Neville praised England's performance against Norway, calling their victory one of his "proudest moments" in football.
He told a press conference: "To be honest, I thought we played no different than we did in the previous games, we were just more ruthless.
"I've got the best job ever. Coaches can be the best in the world but if you haven't got the players with the right attitude, determination and ability to learn and improve, then you're dead as a coach. I think that's why I've been so confident for the last 18 months, perhaps bullish at times and brave in the words that I'm using because I work day in and day out with players that are absolutely astonishing.
"They astonish and inspire me every day and tonight is probably one of the proudest moments I've had in football.
'I'd prefer USA over France'
Rachel Yankey says she would rather England play the USA over France in the semi-final of the Women's World Cup following the Lionesses' 3-0 win over Norway in the last eight. Hit play below to listen!
England will face either France or the United States - who play on Friday evening - in the semi-finals on July 2 with kick-off at 8pm.