England’s Lionesses purring after Norway thrashing leaves Euro 2022 contenders hungry for more

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
England’s Lionesses purring after Norway thrashing leaves Euro 2022 contenders hungry for more
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Time will tell how defining a night this win over Norway was for England, but in the immediate aftermath it felt like a historic and special occasion.

In typical fashion, Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman refused to get carried way and viewed the 8-0 win through a black and white lens.

“It’s just three points — if you win 1-0 or 8-0, it doesn’t make a difference — we didn’t win anything yet,” she said.

Perhaps not, but this demolition of Norway showed why England are contenders to go all the way at Euro 2022 and how, when they are in their groove, few teams can live with them.

Their haul is a new European Championship record, with no team — in either the men’s or women’s game — having scored as many in one match.

It was a statement of intent from Wiegman’s side, who could easily have taken their foot off the gas when they were 3-0 up inside 30 minutes. Instead, they scored three more before half-time.

Fellow contenders Germany and Spain, who England will likely face in the quarter-finals after securing top spot in Group A last night with a game to spare, both scored four in their opening games of the tournament, while France managed five on Sunday night. In contrast, it felt like England, after a quiet opening-day win over Austria last week, had not announced their arrival — but that certainly changed last night.

“You could probably see it on our faces in that first half, it was just unreal,” said striker Ellen White. “Another two goals in the second half — it’s just crazy, mental. The noise and the atmosphere was absolutely insane.”

This was a near-perfect performance from England, who even timed their opening goal in the 12th minute so well that those fans delayed making it to the ground due to train issues were able to see Georgia Stanway smash home the penalty. From there, England never looked back.

In the build-up, everyone had been speaking about Norway’s attack, but they left purring over the Lionesses. Beth Mead grabbed a hat-trick, White nabbed two and Lauren Hemp got in on the act as well. There was even time for Alessia Russo to come off the bench to score — an indication of the strength in depth available to Wiegman.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

She predicted this would be an “open” and “exciting” game, and it was assumed that could play into Norway’s hands, given their love of attacking. The reality was that it suited England.

Norway’s defence was all at sea down here in Brighton and they were carved open at will. Julie Blakstad struggled at left-back as Mead and Lucy Bronze overloaded her, while at centre-back Maria Thorisdottir could not live with White.

The Norwegian defending was, at times, very poor, and the way Mead danced through them for her second was too easy. But not too much should be taken away from England, who took full advantage of the chances they were given. Wiegman has continually called for the Lionesses to be ruthless — and last night she got her wish.

Some will look at the scoreline and dismiss this result as a mismatch, but this is a Norway side ranked 11th in the world. They had been tipped as dark horses to go all the way this summer and only 24 hours ago there were fears they could spoil England’s party at the Amex.

There will be a temptation to go strong and keep momentum building ahead of the quarter-final.

Those concerns were emphatically dismissed by England and the rest of the teams will have sat up and taken notice. Norway have not suddenly become a bad team overnight and, as much as their defending should be criticised, England’s attack must be praised, too.

Wiegman now has the luxury of being able to rest players for Friday’s final group match against Northern Ireland in Southampton, but there will be a temptation to go strong and keep momentum building ahead of next week’s quarter-final, which is back here in Brighton.

Down by the coast last night, it felt like England started a wave of support that they would do well to carry on building. Who knows how far it could take them this summer?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting