'Best in the world' Bronze has England dreaming of gold

LE HAVRE, June 28 ― England's women have their sights set on ending their semi-final curse after a stunning strike by Lucy Bronze helped Phil Neville's team to a 3-0 win over Norway in Le Havre yesterday and took them into the last four of the World Cup.

In front of a crowd of 21,111 that included David Beckham, England worked the ball down the right, Bronze cut the ball back, White missed it as she attempted a strike and it ran to Scott, whose low shot went in via the post with just two minutes and six seconds on the clock. Came close before the end of the first half, she smacked a delightful long-shot off the bar and had a couple of efforts, including leaping to make a header despite Ingrid Hjelmseth charging out.

It means Phil Neville's side will now face either France or the U.S. in the semi-finals on Tuesday in Lyon.

She also did her part in defense, at one point mopping up a looping through ball that bounced over Houghton and then getting ahead of Isabell Herlovsen to prevent a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

And they will now face either France or United States of America in Lyon, the city in which Bronze plays her club football, which will be a special moment for the Berwick-born star.

"We can't now focus on the fact we've been to two semi-finals".

We can tell from White expression on how much it meant for her to get into the scoresheet.

The spot-kick had been awarded after England captain Houghton was fouled by Maria Thorisdottir as they challenged for a free-kick into the box.

Lucy Bronze is buzzing to be heading "home" to Lyon with the Lionesses.

"If she continues to play as she has done throughout the tournament, it's exciting for us". If you sign up to a service by clicking one of the links, we may earn a referral fee.

Rapinoe is now the joint top scorer in the tournament with five goals - alongside team-mate Alex Morgan, England's Ellen White and Australia's Sam Kerr. The band played the songs, and England marched into the final four to the sound of the brass band and riding the wave of a country's dreams of World Cup success.

A video message from retired rowing champion Katherine Grainger, Britain's most decorated female Olympian, was played in the team meeting.

Neville said of the forward: "She's missed two penalties and they have both been really good saves".

Their talent has never been in doubt but any questions over whether Phil Neville's side had the mettle for the high pressure knockout stages were answered by a confident display at the Stade Oceane.

Neville said afterwards: "That was the best they have played under me".

"I'm not going to name a player in the male game but in terms of characteristics she is a [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, [Alan] Shearer, [Michael] Owen - turning from a hard-working, grafting player into a predator", he said. But I've been so confident [about winning the World Cup] because I work with a group of fantastic people.

  • Julie Sanders