Women’s World Cup: Lionesses face Norway with semi-final place at stake


Phil Neville’s England face Even Pellerud’s Norway in the Women’s World Cup’s first quarter-final clash.

The Lionesses reached this stage after overcoming Cameroon 3-0 in the last-16 after a highly-controversial match in Valenciennes thanks to goals from Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood.

Despite progressing to the next round, England have injuries doubts after a physical encounter against Cameroon with defenders Lucy Bronze, Millie Bright and captain Houghton all concerns ahead of the quarter-final fixture.

Writer Steve Clare, out in France covering tomorrow’s clash, gave his preview as the Lionesses look to secure a semi-final place for the third successive World Cup.

Norway reached this stage by defeating a spirited Japanese side 2-1 thanks to a last-minute penalty from Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema and may be confident of an upset against what could be a weakened England side.

Phil Neville remained confident however that rotation due to injuries would not result in a decrease in performance:

“If Steph and Millie are out we bring someone else in, no problem. It will be a seamless transition. Everyone knows the system, the way we play, I’ve utter belief in all my players. I said six months ago I didn’t want to get to the quarter finals of the World Cup and throw someone in we haven’t tried or tested. There’s been a plan and it’s for moments like this.”

Although ending their victory over Cameroon with a clean sheet, former England international Neville will be aware that his players’ defensive play must be greatly improved if they are to withhold a much more dangerous attacking side in Norway.

Should they conquer their Norwegian opponents, the Lionesses would face a mouth-watering semi-final match against the winners of hosts France and reigning champions USA.


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