LE HAVRE: England have reached the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup after beating Norway 3-0 in Le Havre – never looking back after taking the lead with a third-minute goal from Jill Scott.
This was the first of the four quarter-finals with holders United States playing hosts France in Friday’s class. England will face the winners.
llen 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.
Lucy Bronze 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.
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.
England coach Phil Neville insists he and the team are having the “time of our lives” after reaching the semi-finals.
He said: “We expected nothing else and that’s not being arrogant. I thought it should have been four or five (goals). That is the level of performance we have been showing. We are having the time of our lives. We are just where we want to be.”
Neville also heaped praise on Bronze, saying: “What you have seen tonight is that Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world: there is no player like her in the world, no player who has her athleticism and quality. I played full-back but never to that level she played at.”
Progression means England head to a last-four clash against France or the US in Lyon, the city where Bronze plays her club football for the Champions League winners.
“I’ve been dreaming of getting to Lyon and playing in that semi-final,” she told BBC One. “I’m excited to be going to Lyon now. We know USA or France will be a top team and we will have to raise our game to another level.”