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England clobbers Norway to earn 2nd-ever World Cup semifinal berth

England clobbers Norway to earn 2nd-ever World Cup semifinal berth

The Lionesses are on the prowl for silverware.

Jill Scott, Ellen White, and Lucy Bronze all scored as England thumped Norway in Thursday’s World Cup quarterfinal.

Phil Neville’s side was susceptible at the back after establishing its 3-0 lead in the 57th minute. But, through a string of last-ditch interventions and sharp saves, England was able to claim its fourth-straight clean sheet at the tournament.

Norwegian goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth denied England a fourth goal when she thwarted Nikita Parris’ late penalty.

England will face either host France or the much-fancied United States in the semifinals.

It was expected to be a nervy, close encounter in Le Havre, but England was quickly in the ascendency. The Parris and Bronze tandem combined well again down the right before the latter streaked past Ingrid Engen and clipped a dangerous ball across the box. White completely missed the ball with her swing, but Scott was behind her to tap it home off the upright.

At only two minutes and six seconds, Scott’s opener was England’s fastest-ever goal at a Women’s World Cup.

England maintained control throughout the first half, with White unlucky not to draw level with Alex Morgan and Sam Kerr in the tournament’s scoring charts after 29 minutes when she tamed Parris’ lifted delivery and then smashed her attempt off the woodwork.

Just over 10 minutes later, White scored her fifth goal in France on an impressive team move, which was exactly what England deserved for its dominant display. Parris was again instrumental as she found space behind the Norwegian rearguard and unselfishly squared the ball to White – who just stayed onside – for a simple finish.

Norway was able to find more attacking inroads in the opening moments of the second half, but the match was effectively over at 3-0 when the excellent Bronze rifled an unstoppable hit into the roof of the net. Beth Mead stood over the free-kick and indicated she wanted to post an aerial delivery into the box, but instead stabbed the ball to Bronze, who was unmarked and creeping to the edge of the box. It was a resounding first-time wallop.

LOIC VENANCE / AFP / Getty

While this result was a statement scoreline for the Lionesses, they did endure their usual sloppy spell. But heroic defending from captain Steph Houghton and Karen Bardsley’s stubborn ‘keeping shut the Scandinavians out.

Parris was denied from 12 yards following Maria Thorisdottir’s push on Houghton’s back under a high ball in the penalty area.

Now, England will look to go one better in its second consecutive semifinal. In the 2015 competition, the Lionesses lost to Japan in the final four due to the now-retired Laura Bassett’s heart-wrenching own goal in injury time.

“We want to play them both (France and USWNT), I’m not bothered who we play,” Neville told BBC One post-match. “We’ll go to Lyon, the atmosphere and occasion will be incredible. The players have proved the bigger the occasion, the better we are. We’re having fun.”