England 3-0 Norway: Lucy Bronze is solid gold for dominant Lionesses

Lucy Bronze hammers in England's third goal. (Credit: Getty Images)
Lucy Bronze hammers in England's third goal. (Credit: Getty Images)

A golden moment from Lucy Bronze capped off a commanding performance from England as the Lionesses swept aside Norway 3-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup.

A balmy summer’s evening in Le Harve got off to the perfect start when Jill Scott put England ahead with just two minutes and six seconds on the clock.

Ellen White’s fifth goal of the tournament doubled England’s lead before Bronze’s rocket sealed the win midway through the second half.

The dominance of Phil Neville’s team was such that Nikita Parris’ penalty miss in the final 10 minutes barely mattered, with France or the USA standing between England and a first Women’s World Cup final.

It was Bronze who was the catalyst for England’s strong start. Racing onto Parris’ pass, the right back got to the byline and cut back for Jill Scott who swept the ball home after White missed her kick.

Jill Scott opens the scoring after just two minutes. (Credit: Getty Images)
Jill Scott opens the scoring after just two minutes. (Credit: Getty Images)

England were causing Norway problems down the right, particularly through the powerful running of Bronze.

And it was another attack down that side which presented Parris with a golden opportunity to double England’s lead after 20 minutes.

Scott’s perfectly-weighted pass released the winger, who managed to cut inside the defender but could only blaze a left-footed shot over the bar with White pleading for the ball to be played square.

White’s chance would arrive in the 29th minute, when she latched onto a delicate chip from Parris before thundering a half-volley against the post with Norway goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth beaten.

Norway struggled to create any clear-cut chances, making poor decisions in the final third on their rare forays into England territory.

Parris forced a save out of Hjelmseth after 38 minutes with a far-post header which was turned over the crossbar.

But England didn’t have to wait long to double their lead. Parris was involved again, getting in down the right once more only this time she did square the ball to White - who had a tap-in for her fifth goal of the tournament.

It was a goal which made White the leading English goalscorer in Women’s World Cup history.

Glastonbury enjoyed England's commanding win. (Credit: Getty Images)
Glastonbury enjoyed England's commanding win. (Credit: Getty Images)

England’s dominance of the first half would have delighted the crowd at Glastonbury. The game was shown on a big screen at the festival after a plea from England midfielder Georgia Stanway, whose brother was among the revellers watching on.

England’s progress was all-but secured 10 minutes into the second half through a deserved goal from the excellent Bronze.

Yet another surge down the right from the Lyon star earned a free-kick which Beth Mead cut back for Bronze to smash into the back of the net from 20 yards out.

It was a case of history repeated for Norway, who were eliminated by England in the round of 16 at the 2015 tournament with Bronze scoring the winner.

In complete command, England switched off 20 minutes into the second half when Steph Houghton came to the rescue of fellow centre back Millie Bright.

David Beckham watches on with his daughter Harper. (Credit: Getty Images)
David Beckham watches on with his daughter Harper. (Credit: Getty Images)

Her poor back pass was intercepted by Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland who went around goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.

The Norway substitute was forced wide and, by the time she lined herself up to take a shot from a tight angle, England captain Houghton had got back to clear the ball of the line.

Even during their most convincing performance of the tournament, England were still guilty of defensive lapses which have so far littered their World Cup campaign.

Moments after her last-ditch clearance, Houghton was outmuscled by Isabell Herlovsen who could only fire at Bardsley when through on goal.

It was Houghton who was pushed in the back by Maria Thorisdottir in the final 10 minutes, giving Parris the chance to make it four from the spot.

Hjelmseth read the penalty well, though, diving to her right to make the save.

But England’s place in the last four was assured, where hosts France or holders USA await in Lyon on Tuesday.