A solid performance from England saw them cruise into the semi-final with a 3-0 win against Norway in Le Havre.
Phil Neville’s team progressed into the semi-final of the World Cup in specular fashion.
The Lionesses are one win from a first final appearance after a dominant display, which was marked by a cracking goal from Lucy Bronze. Phil Neville’s side prepares a mouthwatering clash with either holders the United States or hosts France.
Story of the match
The Lionesses dominant start was rewarded through Jill Scott’s dummy strike rolled into the bottom left corner and waited behind Ellen White, who missed the ball with an air kick from Bronze’s delivered cross.
Scott’s strike is England’s fastest ever goal in a World Cup campaign and becomes only the second player to score in three World Cup campaigns for England after Fara Williams.
England continued to dominate the first half and were close to double their lead when Nikita Parris strike went over and wide from the top-right corner. Moments later, England come close again with White thumping strike rattled the post.
Norway had their first opportunity through Gura Reiten long-range strike with her effort being blocked by Demi Stokes. The Norwegian appealed for handball but was not reviewed by the officials
Five minutes before the break England cruised into a two-goal lead from White who tapped the ball home from close distance. After a great play down at the right flank with Lucy Bronze who played the ball inside to Parris, who plays it into the path of White.
Norway came close to get back into the game after some slopping defending from England. Steph Houghton intervene when Caroline Graham looked certain to score from a controlled a pass on the edge of the six-yard box.
But England put the result beyond doubt 12 minutes from time as Bronze long-range strike, secured England’s place into the last four of the Women’s World Cup.
While a little lapse of concentration could have proved costly to England. This time an atrocious back-pass to Karen Bardsley from Millie Bright found its way to Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland who unleashed a shot which was blocked on the line by Houghton.
Parris saw a late penalty, awarded for Maria Thorisdottir's foul on England captain Houghton, which was well saved by Ingrid Hjelmseth.
Parris penalty miss did not dampen England’s celebration as they progress to the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup.
Takeaways from the match
Despite a well-earned victory, this was the best performance from England in this season’s world cup campaign. They played with great tempo, intensity and spirit within the team.
Not only will their next semi-final opponents are tougher, but they were also sloppy defensively when England were in pole positions which is an aspect that needs to be addressed prior to the semi-final next week. England were lucky to get a clean sheet and if they are not careful in the semi-finals, France or USA would take them apart with that level of defending.
Many occasions we have seen England giving the ball away in particular Millie Bright. Will does it mean to Phil Neville’s semi final team selection? It is yet to be revealed.
The squad have to regroup, learn their mistakes and understand the ramifications of the semi-final game means to their nation and fans.
Is football coming home?
England’s win over Norway as well as in the She Believes Cup puts England in touching distance of World Cup glory, and maintain their 100% record so far in this competition. Beating Norway in emphatic fashion raises the beliefs in the England camp and fans are dreaming of World Cup glory. We can clearly see the chemistry within the entire squad and it’s a happy camp around the England dressing room.
However, USA and France remain favourites for World Cup glory, but have England found their form at the right time and hitting top gear, and with array of talent and attacking flair- can anyone stop them?
Ellen White’s revenge mission
The Lionesses started the game brightly and earned their reward. England got on the scoresheet in the space of two minutes, mainly down to great play at the flanks and with the ball landed to White who completely miss-kicked and the ball found Jill Scott. She should have slammed home from the near-post but kicked nothing but air as the ball reached her.
We can tell from White expression on how much it meant for her to get into the scoresheet. Came close before the end of the first half, she smacked a delightful long-shot off the bar and had a couple of efforts, including leaping to make a header despite Ingrid Hjelmseth charging out.
She eventually got her goal in which she timed her run really well and roll the ball at the back of the net. By being at the right place, right time is key to England’s success in this competition as it gives the attack such potency. White’s goal means that she is on level with Alex Morgan and Sam Kerr at the race of the golden boot. She is now the second-ever English player to score in four consecutive World Cup games after Gary Lineker. There’s nothing stopping her in achieving her personal goals and always going for more.
Stand Out Players
Prior to this World Cup campaign, she came in as the world’s best right-back and she’s continued to be a dominant figure in the England dressing room. Leading as an example.
She was a dominant player in the entire first half with more take-ons than the entire Norway team. Bronze got herself into the scoresheet, gain an assist and solid defensively against attacking left-back Kristine Minde.