My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Solveig Gulbrandsen 54
Steph Houghton 61, Lucy Bronze 76
Norway made four changes from the team that beat Cote D’Ivoire. Captain Trine Ronning returned in defence, as did Ingrid Moe Wold and Maren Mjelde. Gry Tofte Ims came into midfield, with Maria Thorisdottir, Lisa-Marie Utland, Elise Thorsnes and Emilie Haavi the players losing their spot.
England also made four changes. Lucy Bronze and Claire Rafferty returned at full-backs, and Laura Basset once again partnered Steph Houghton in central defence. Katie Chapman came into midfield to deal with the dangers of the Norwegian attack. Alex Scott, Alex Greenwood, Jordan Nobbs and Casey Stoney were the players who made way.
England created the first chance in the 2nd minute. Fara Williams picked out Lucy Bronze with an outstanding long pass to the right wing. Bronze then crossed to Toni Duggan, who didn’t get enough on her glancing header to threaten the goal.
But then Norway started to threaten the England goal. Lene Mykjaland’s corner was whipped into the near post and it came off Williams, and luckily for England went behind for a corner. The next ball was dangerous, but Karen Bardsley punched it clear.
Norway have a corner. Mykjaland’s corner is flicked behind by Williams at the near post. Her next corner is superbly punched clear by Bardsley.
England were giving Mykjaland far too much space, and that nearly cost them. Her pass split the centre-backs sending Isabell Herlovsen through, but Bardsley was quick off her line to make a sliding clearance. Then Herlovsen came close through fortunate circumstances as her cross nearly crept in at the near post, but Bardsley was alert to it.
Mykjaland then played a delightful curled ball to the far post where Ada Hegerberg was making the run, but she couldn’t stretch enough to divert the ball towards the goal. Then Gry Tofte Ims long pass looked to have played Hegerberg through, but Laura Bassett just made the crucial clearance.
England gave Ingrid Moe Wold far too much space down the left. Her cross takes a deflection off Carney which causes it to wickedly bounce up in the air. Hegerberg gets between Bronze and Houghton to head wide of the far post. Mjelde’s deep cross falls to Herlovsen but her first-time shot went wide.
And then England nearly handed Norway the opener. Lucy Bronze played a casual passback, Hegerberg intercepted and broke into the box, but her shot was superbly saved by Bardsley. However, in Bronze’s effort to make amends, she wrestled the striker and could have given away a penalty and been sent off if Hegerberg had gone down.
England ended the first half on top and came close from a corner, but Bassett’s diving header was deflected wide.
Norway regained their foothold at the start of the second half. Solveig Gulbrandsen tried her luck from 30 yards, but her shot was tipped around the post by Bardsley. Replays showed this shot was going well wide, and the keeper’s decision to make the save proved costly. Mykjaland whipped her corner with venom to the near post, Gulbrandsen’s flicked header hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the line.
But within seven minutes, England had equalised. Williams’ corner is delightful and captain Steph Houghton made a great run to head the ball back across goal into the corner. If Gulbrandsen had stayed on the far post, she would have cleared it.
England was now on top. Karen Carney’s cross just goes over Chapman’s head, but it fell to Jill Scott whose shot was blocked. Carney then tried from distance, but it was an easy save for Ingrid Hjelmseth.
Norway reminded England of their threat, with Elise Thorsnes nearly make an impact seconds after coming on. Hegerberg’s deep cross fell to Thorsnes who had lost Claire Rafferty, but the Norwegian slipped as she shot over.
Gulbrandsen’s long pass sent Hegerberg through, but her shot was excellently saved by Bardsley. Then Maren Mjelde made a meandering run into the box, but her shot deflected off Bassett and luckily for England, just wide.
But then England scored the winner, and it may just win the goal of the tournament. Jodie Taylor brilliantly kept hold of the ball down the right, and then produced lovely interplay with Jill Scott who passed to Bronze on the edge of the box – who fired a thunderbolt roaring into the top-right corner. An absolute screamer.
England could have scored a third after great play from Jill Scott whose cross eventually fell to Carney, whose shot forced Hjelmseth into a great save.
Norway had one last chance. Mykjaland’s corner went through everyone but Hegerberg picked the ball up on the left, who from the wing tried her luck and her shot only just went over.
Jill Scott – England. (I felt when she was brought on, she was the driving force behind England’s recovery. Karen Bardsley deserves a mention)
Norway: (4-3-3) Ingrid Hjelmseth, Maren Mjelde, Trine Ronning (c) (Maria Thorisdottir HT), Marita Skammelsrud Lund, Ingrid Moe Wold (Lisa-Marie Utland 87), Solveig Gulbrandsen, Lene Mykjaland, Gry Tofte Ims, Kristine Minde (Elise Thorsnes 70), Isabell Herlovsen.
Goal: Solveig Gulbrandsen 54.
England: (4-1-3-2) Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton (c), Laura Bassett, Claire Rafferty, Fara Williams, Jade Moore, Karen Carney, Katie Chapman, Fran Kirby (Jill Scott 54), Toni Duggan (Jodie Taylor 63).
Goals: Steph Houghton 61, Lucy Bronze 74.