Date: 22nd June 2015 at 2:28pm
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England booked their place in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals after coming from behind to beat Norway 2-1 in Ottawa.

Solveig Gulbrandsen put the Norwegians ahead nine minutes after the break but Steph Houghton’s header and Lucy Bronze’s long-range drive secured the Three Lionesses’ first ever victory in the knockout stage at a World Cup.

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On a sweltering afternoon England had the first sight of goal, but Toni Duggan’s header failed to hit the target following an inviting cross from Bronze.

But Norway responded strongly, and on 10 minutes had a golden chance to take the lead when Isabell Herlovsen found herself through on goal, but Karen Bardsley spread herself well to keep the score level.

Even Pellerud’s side kept up the pressure and went close again when Kristine Minde poked just wide of the far post after she was brilliantly picked out by Lene Mykjaland

Opportunities for England were very few and far between with Fara Williams firing a free-kick over from 30 yards.

Duggan, Fran Kirby and Karen Carney worked tirelessly up top, putting Norway under pressure where possible but failing to create any openings.

And with six minutes to go before the break, Mark Sampson’s side nearly gifted a goal to the Scandinavians when Bronze’s underhit back-pass went to Ada Hegerberg, but the forward could only fire straight at Bardsley.

The second half started just as cagey as the first had been played, but, like the opening 45, it was Norway that looked the better side, zipping the ball around and getting into wide areas.

And after Bardsley needlessly pushed Solveig Gulbrandsen’s strike, which was going wide, out for a corner, England fell behind for the first time in the tournament since their opening match against France.

A brilliant whipped corner to the near post was met by Gulbrandsen who flicked a header past a cluster of heads and in off the crossbar.

But England showed Norway the courage and determination which saw them win their final two group games as they grabbed an equaliser just six minutes later.

Substitute Jill Scott did well to win a corner which resulted in Fara Williams’ driven cross being headed back across the goal and into the bottom corner by captain Houghton.

The goal gave England a boost but as soon as they began to dominate possession Norway upped the ante again with substitute Kristine Minde, Hegerberg and Maren Mjelde all carving out, but wasting, half chances.

Sampson’s side didn’t let that spell of pressure dent their confidence, and they went ahead in spectacular fashion with 14 minutes remaining.

Scott and Jodie Taylor kept the ball nicely on the edge of the box, before the latter set up Bronze to smash the ball into the top corner from a little over 20 yards.

They nearly clinched a third soon after when Katie Chapman picked out Carney, whose low strike was pushed wide by Ingrid Hjelmseth.

Hegerberg went close with a speculative strike from the angle for a now desperate Norway, but England saw the game out to secure their place in the last-eight where they will play hosts Canada in Vancouver on Saturday.

Player of the Match: Steph Houghton

 
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