herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

The Lionesses roar into semi

Neville praise for Bronze as Norway are blown away

Ellen White celebrates scoring England’s second goal against Norway
Ellen White celebrates scoring England’s second goal against Norway

England advanced to another Women's World Cup semi-final after beating Norway 3-0 in Le Havre.

Jill Scott put Phil Neville's side ahead with a fine finish in just the third minute at the Stade Oceane, the earliest goal of the tournament so far and the fastest England have scored at any edition.

Ellen White, having hit the post just before the half-hour mark, made it 2-0 with a 40th-minute tap-in, taking her goal tally in France to five as she moved alongside the United States' Alex Morgan and Australia's Sam Kerr as the tournament's joint top-scorer.

And Lucy Bronze then added a superb third in the 57th minute, smashing a shot past Ingrid Hjelmseth from just outside the box.

Norway, showing more threat in the second half than in the first, came close to pulling a goal back soon after when substitute Lisa-Marie Utland's shot was cleared off the line by Steph Houghton.

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England then had the chance to extend their lead with seven minutes of normal time remaining, but Nikita Parris' penalty was saved by Hjelmseth - the second time in the campaign she has failed with an effort from the spot.

Neville's team can now look forward to a last-four clash next Tuesday in Lyon against either hosts France or holders the United States, who meet in Paris on Friday night.

It is the third successive major tournament in which the Lionesses have made the semi-finals, following the runs at the 2015 World Cup and Euro 2017.

A delighted England manager Phil Neville spoke immediately after the game, talking up his team's achievements: "We're where we want to be. I think we've seen tonight Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world, without a shadow of a doubt - with her athleticism and quality.

"There's no player like her in the world. I played full-back but never to that level.

"Ellen White has got the bit between her teeth. She's a predator. You feel for Jodie Taylor. She's chomping at the bit. We've got competition for places which feels good.

"We want to play them both (France and USA), I'm not bothered who we play. We'll go to Lyon, the atmosphere and occasion will be incredible.

"The players have proved the bigger the occasion, they better we are. We're having fun."

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