NORWAY 1 ENGLAND 2
ENGLAND made history last night as Mark Sampson’s side reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup with their first ever victory in a knockout match at the tournament.
Full-back Lucy Bronze proved the match-winner with a stunning late strike after skipper Steph Houghton had earlier cancelled out Norway’s opener from midfielder Solveig Gulbrandsen.
England’s prize for beating Norway is a last-eight showdown with hosts Canada on Saturday, in a competition this year expanded to 24 teams, while Sampson’s side will bid to exorcise the demons of their most recent quarter-final defeats in 2007 and 2011.
Fifth-placed England are six places ahead of Norway in the world rankings but failed to make much headway in the first half, while the Scandinavians threatened shortly before the break when prolific striker Ada Hegerberg forced goalkeeper Karen Bardsley into evasive action.
England entered the game having won just four of their last 13 meetings against sides ranked in the top-12 and Norway duly took the lead nine minutes after the restart.
Bardsley conceded a needless corner, palming behind a shot which was heading well wide, and from the resulting set-piece Gulbrandsen glanced home off the underside of the bar.
England levelled moments after the hour mark when Houghton met a Fara Williams corner and powered a header beyond Norway stopper Ingrid Hjelmseth from the edge of the six-yard box. The winner arrived in the 76th minute as Manchester City defender Bronze lashed home a ferocious effort from the edge of the penalty area after neat build-up play from Jill Scott and substitute Jodie Taylor.