England produced a sensational and record-breaking performance to stun rivals Norway as they advanced to the knockout stages of the European Women’s Championship as group champions.
Brighton enjoyed a memorable night as England broke their own tournament record by winning 8-0 in what was perceived as their biggest test of the group stage.
Norway, ranked 11th in the world, were outplayed, outclassed and utterly stunned by an England team brimming with confidence.
After a disappointing opening victory over Austria, England started cautiously but, after Georgia Stanway scored a 12th-minute penalty, there was only one winner.
Within half an hour, Lauren Hemp and Ellen White had extended England’s lead and excitement was sweeping through the Amex Stadium.
What followed was a merciless onslaught on the Norway goal: Beth Mead netted a hat-trick, Alessia Russo came off the bench to score and White grabbed a second of the night to move within a goal of Wayne Rooney’s all-time England scoring record.
It was a statement performance for the rest of Europe as England flew into the knockout stages having comfortably confirmed their status as one of the tournament favourites.
Sensational medium stuns electric crowd
Sarina Wiegman said she wanted her side to “entertain” in Brighton and, boy, did they.
His sensational first-half performance stunned everyone inside the stadium, with friends and family by the media box gasping and on their feet for most of the time.
Each attack threatened to add to England’s tally and the supporters inside the Amex knew it, cheering and rising to their feet in anticipation.
As one fan said as he walked down the steps at halftime: “what’s going on?”
That was surely the question on Norway’s mind, as their players looked shocked as they ran through the tunnel with their heads down.
Substitutes gave the England players a version of a guard of honour, who shook each other’s hands with defender Millie Bright roaring “come on!”.
The Lionesses’ 6-0 victory over Scotland in 2017 was the largest margin of victory in the competition’s history and they had equaled it at half-time. It was only a matter of time in the second half before he was defeated.
The perfect night on and off the pitch
Norway boss Martin Sjogren had tried to put pressure on England in his pre-match press conference, suggesting that the hosts were clear favorites for this match despite only being ranked three places higher in the world rankings.
Wiegman had brushed her off, smiling as she shrugged off the suggestion of additional pressure and simply said, “It’s just a football game.”
England made sure it wasn’t just any football game.
After the seventh goal was scored, the loudest rendition of ‘It’s going home’ echoed through the stadium.
Minutes later, England fans turned on the lights on their phone cameras and stood for full time as the players danced to music coming from the speakers.
Scenes of celebration capped off a perfect evening for the hosts, as Wiegman was able to rotate his players and give playing time to those unlucky enough to lose a place in the starting XI.
The players gathered in front of the fans and the stands with their families, holding hands and singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ in a final act before taking a walk of honor around the pitch.
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Rating Range Key = give up = pure perfection
- 3DalyReplaced forGreen wooda 57′minutes
- 10stanwayReplaced forScotta 80′minutes
- 14kirbyReplaced forto onea 58′minutes
- elevenHempReplaced forKellya 70′minutes
- 9WhiteReplaced forRussiana 57′minutes
- 5Green wood
- twentyto one
- twenty-oneRoe deer
- 17BlackstadReserved at 56 minutes
- 8laughterReplaced fortomorrowa 59′minutesReserved at 87 minutes
- 9SaevikReplaced forbergsvanda Four. Five’minutes
- 10HansenReplaced forEikelanda 76′minutes
- elevenlaughReplaced forTerlanda 84′minutes
- 14HegerbergReplaced forIldhusøya 75′minutesReserved at 77 minutes
- twentySkinnes Hansen
- Riem Hussein
Match ends, England 8, Norway 0.
Second Half ends, England 8, Norway 0.
Failed attempt. Jill Scott (England) right footed shot from the right side of the box very close but misses to the right. Assisted by Lucy Bronze.
Foul by Keira Walsh (England).
Amalie Eikeland (Norway) has been fouled in the defensive zone.
Failed attempt. Alex Greenwood (England) left footed shot from outside the box that goes too high from a direct free kick.
Frida Maanum (Norway) is shown the yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
Ella Toone (England) has been fouled in the away half.
Foul by Frida Maanum (Norway).
Failed attempt. Frida Maanum (Norway) right footed shot from outside the box that goes high and wide to the right. Assisted by Maren Mjelde.
Substitution, Norway. Elisabeth Terland replaces Guro Reiten.
Failed attempt. Ella Toone (England) left footed shot from the center of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Alessia Russo.
Goal! England 8, Norway 0. Beth Mead (England) left footed shot from very close range to the center of goal.
Saved attempt. Keira Walsh (England) right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Alex Greenwood.
Substitution, England. Jill Scott replaces Georgia Stanway.
Foul by Beth Mead (England).
Julie Blakstad (Norway) has been fouled in the defensive zone.
Celin Ildhusøy (Norway) is shown the yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
Leah Williamson (England) has been fouled down the left wing.
Foul by Celin Ildhusøy (Norway).