Women’s World Cup: Norway 0-3 England – Lionesses into semi-finals

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Highlights: Norway 0-3 England

England reached their second consecutive Women’s World Cup semi-final as they produced an excellent performance to beat Norway in Le Havre.

Lucy Bronze’s brilliant second-half strike capped a fine night that saw the Lionesses become the first senior England team to reach the last four at three consecutive major tournaments.

Two slick team moves had given them a deserved 2-0 half-time lead, as Jill Scott and Ellen White found the net from close range either side of White hitting the post.

Nikita Parris saw a late penalty, awarded for Maria Thorisdottir’s foul on England captain Steph Houghton, well saved by Ingrid Hjelmseth.

But that did not dampen England’s jubilant mood at full-time, as they celebrated with sheer joy after moving within one win of their first major final.

White’s tap-in took her goals tally to five for the tournament, putting her joint leader in the race for the Golden Boot alongside the United States’ Alex Morgan and Australia’s Sam Kerr.

Backed by thousands of delighted travelling fans, the Lionesses will now face either France or the US in the semi-finals on Tuesday in Lyon.

The hosts and the holders meet in their highly anticipated last-eight tie on Friday at 20:00 BST.

England’s well-deserved progression also boosted their hopes of representing Great Britain at the 2020 Olympics, with the three best-finishing European teams qualifying for next summer’s Tokyo Games.

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Bronze smashes home from edge of the box to put England 3-0 ahead

England produce their best display so far

England’s three fine goals entertained the 21,111 fans who were at Le Havre’s Stade Oceane near the English Channel, including delighted former men’s internationals David Beckham and Ian Wright, who witnessed a memorable performance.

The Lionesses, who reached the last four at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and 2017 European Championship, arrived in France with realistic ambitions of winning a first major title and they showed their true potential on Thursday.

Wins over Scotland, Argentina and Japan saw England top Group D without finding their best form, while a victory over an unruly Cameroon side followed in the last 16. The quarter-final against Norway was without doubt the Lionesses’ strongest display of the finals so far.

Two excellent team moves down the right gave them a deserved 2-0 half-time lead, with Scott putting England in front in the third minute after Bronze’s cut-back.

Lively winger Parris then clipped wide from close range and a confident White fired on to the post as England created the best chances, before the Manchester City-bound striker tucked in from Parris’ unselfish square ball.

Backed by their buoyant fans’ band, who danced in celebration long after the full-time whistle, England deservedly lapped up the applause before their journey continues to Lyon.

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White taps in after a wonderful move to give England a 2-0 lead

Norway well beaten despite strong campaign

Norway, who won the 1995 title, were playing in their sixth World Cup quarter-final, but were well beaten by a side ranked nine places above them.

Martin Sjogren’s team struggled to win the ball in midfield in the early stages and, when they did get in threatening positions in the first half, Barcelona forward Caroline Graham Hansen was repeatedly thwarted by England centre-back Millie Bright.

Aiming to reach the last four for the first time since 2007, Norway did create good opportunities in the second period but were denied by some last-ditch defending.

Houghton did well to clear substitute Lisa-Marie Utland’s effort off the line, having earlier intervened to deny Graham Hansen a seemingly certain goal just after the break.

Norway had not previously conceded a first-half goal in finishing second in Group A and eliminating Australia on penalties in the last 16.

But they always faced a difficult task after Scott’s early strike went in off the post and they could have lost by more if it was not for Parris’ second missed penalty from three attempts at these finals.

Norway have been without Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg because she has refused to play for the national side since 2017, having taken a stand against what she describes as a lack of respect for female players in the country.

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England get off to the perfect start thanks to Jill Scott’s third-minute goal

Are England looking like potential world champions?

There was a confidence about England’s mannerisms as they found red-hot form as a heatwave gripped large parts of France, although a coastal breeze in the port city of Le Havre helped reduce the humidity.

Arguably for the first time this summer, they sent a warning to their title rivals, two of whom meet in Paris on Friday.

With the form of White – who became England’s all-time leading scorer at the Women’s World Cup with six goals – they will pose a major threat in the semi-finals.

“We’ll have to raise our game against France or the USA but we know we can match up against either one of those teams,” said Bronze.

“We can get a rest and watch the rest of the quarter-finals now.”

Player of the match – Lucy Bronze (England)


After providing the assist for Jill Scott to open the scoring, Lucy Bronze was involved in the move for the second goal before finding the net with the goal of the game.

‘I knew we were going to win’ – what they said

England boss Phil Neville: “That was the best they have played under me. Yesterday, I knew we were going to win this game because of the look in their eyes and the 11 that didn’t play were driving it.

“This is where we want to be. We paid respect to Norway but we are the third best team in the world and we have confidence in our own ability. We heard how they were going to outrun us and we stuck to our plan and passed the ball and the ball never got tired.”

Norway boss Martin Sjogren: “We lost against a team that was better than us. We had belief that we could hurt England but at this stage of the tournament, all the teams are very good.

“I’m proud of how the players have represented Norway and how they’ve behaved. We would have loved to stay on, but England deserved to go through.”

England and Lyon midfielder Izzy Christiansen on BBC Radio 5 Live: “Norway looked knackered and we were not. We were fresh and slick and the second goal in particular, Ellen White just puts it into the back of the net without thinking about it.

“That was a performance that had been stored up and it came out tonight.”

Former England player Alex Scott on BBC One: “Lucy Bronze announced herself at the last World Cup and she has to deal with people knowing her game. She showed why she is the best right-back in the world.

“She loves a challenge, tell her ‘you are the best, now you have to be the best player in the world’ and she rises to that. I knew Lucy would take my place in the team and I give her a huge pat on the back for that.”

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis on BBC Radio 5 Live: “That was the most convincing performance England have put out. Norway have been a dominant force in women’s football forever, and to see them very much second best is very rare.”

Flying Scott – the stats

  • Jill Scott scored the opening goal after two minutes and six seconds – the fastest goal scored by England at a Women’s World Cup, as well as being the earliest scored in this tournament.
  • Scott (2007, 2011 and 2019) is only the second player to score in three separate Women’s World Cup tournaments for England, after Fara Williams (2007, 2011 and 2015).
  • Ellen White is the second English player to score in four consecutive World Cup appearances after Gary Lineker between 1986 and 1990. She is the first English player to do so in a single edition.
  • 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).
  • Norway have been eliminated from the Women’s World Cup by England in consecutive tournaments (also 2015 last 16).

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Hjelmseth’s brilliant stop keeps out Parris’ spot-kick

Live Text

Match ends, Norway 0, England 3.

Second Half ends, Norway 0, England 3.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match because of an injury Vilde Risa (Norway).

Foul by Jill Scott (England).

Amalie Eikeland (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Georgia Stanway (England).

Corner, England. Conceded by Skinnes Hansen.

Attempt blocked. Georgia Stanway (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Rachel Daly.

Foul by Lucy Bronze (England).

Isabell Herlovsen (Norway) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Georgia Stanway (England) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Rachel Daly.

Offside, England. Keira Walsh tries a through ball, but Georgia Stanway is caught offside.

Substitution, England. Rachel Daly replaces Nikita Parris.

Maria Thorisdottir (Norway) is shown the yellow card.

Ellen White (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Maria Thorisdottir (Norway).

Attempt saved. Skinnes Hansen (Norway) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Amalie Eikeland with a cross.

Foul by Georgia Stanway (England).

Ingrid Engen (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution, Norway. Skinnes Hansen replaces Ingrid Moe Wold.

Delay in match because of an injury Beth Mead (England).

Beth Mead (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Graham Hansen (Norway).

Foul by Georgia Stanway (England).

Lisa-Marie Utland (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Penalty saved! Nikita Parris (England) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the top left corner.

Penalty England. Stephanie Houghton draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Maria Thorisdottir (Norway) after a foul in the penalty area.

Nikita Parris (England) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Vilde Risa (Norway).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match because of an injury Ellen White (England).

Delay in match because of an injury Ingrid Hjelmseth (Norway).

Foul by Ellen White (England).

Amalie Eikeland (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, England. Georgia Stanway replaces Francesca Kirby.

Substitution, Norway. Amalie Eikeland replaces Guro Reiten.

Attempt missed. Lisa-Marie Utland (Norway) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ingrid Engen.