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Kirby and England reach World Cup quarter-finals!

23 June 2015

Lionesses into the last eight

Fran Kirby and England Women will take on hosts Canada in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup after beating Norway 2-1 in the round of 16 on Monday evening.

After falling behind to Solveig Gulbrandsen’s opening goal just after the break, Lionesses skipper Steph Houghton notched a headed equaliser on the hour mark.

Lucy Bronze then thumped England ahead with a stunning strike on 76 minutes and some mature game management saw Mark Sampson’s side hold on to the victory.

The result, the Lionesses first ever win in the knockout stages of a World Cup, sets up the last-eight tie with Canada in Vancouver, where the squad will fly to from Ottawa today.

Norway, who lifted the 1995 World Cup, started the match on top and England stopper Karen Bardsley was forced into an instinctive save from Isabell Herlovsen after just 11 minutes.

Kristine Minde then went close by poking an effort wide at the back post, having been picked out by Lene Mykjaland’s deep cross.

The Scandinavians were probing for an opener while, at the other end, England had little more than a tame header from Katie Chapman to show for their efforts.

A weak backpass from Bronze was pounced upon by Ada Hegerberg five minutes before the break, but Bardsley was again well placed to make a save.

Kirby made way for Jill Scott eight minutes into the second period and the Lionesses fell behind seconds after her departure as Gulbrandsen met a corner at the near post and flicked into the net.

England did not trail for long, though. Fara Williams delivered a corner from the right, which Houghton headed back across goal and into the corner of the net for 1-1.

The equaliser lifted the Lionesses and experienced Karen Carney then whipped in a low cross that Chapman met with a fierce strike, which was blocked away.

Scott found Taylor in space down the right and the American-based striker picked out Bronze with an inch-perfect lay-off on 76 minutes.

The full-back stepped up first time and crashed a flying effort into the top corner of the net. Norwegian stopper Ingrid Hjelmseth got a hand to it but the strike had too much power on it for it to be saved.

Carney had a low, curling strike palmed away soon afterwards as England looked to extend their lead. The one-goal advantage proved to be enough, though, as the Lionesses earned their third 2-1 win in a row to progress into the next round.

England:  Bardsley, Bronze, Houghton, Bassett, Rafferty, Moore, Williams, Chapman, Carney, Duggan (Taylor 63), Kirby (J Scott 54).
Not used:  A Scott, Nobbs, Aluko, Chamberlain, Greenwood, Stoney, Potter, Sanderson, Telford, White.

Norway:  Hjelmseth, Skammelsrud Lund, Tofte Ims, Mjelde, Ronning (Thorisdottir 46), Gulbrandsen, Herlovsen, Moe Wold (Utland 87), Mykjaland, Minde (Thorsnes 70), Hegerberg.
Not used:  Sonstevold, Holstad Berge, Vesterbekkmo, Schjelderup, Sandvei, Bjanesoy, Haavi, Hansen, Fiskerstrand.

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