Thursday 27 June: 8pm KO
Live on BBC 1
England continue their bid to win the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history. They beat Cameroon on Sunday and that was their fifth straight win in the finals of ths tournament. Standing between them and the semi-finals are Norway, who England beat at the last tournament.
England are ranked third in the world so it’s not exactly a surprise that they have reached the quarter-finals. They finished in third place in the last Women’s World Cup but want to do better than that this time around. The odds on them winning the tournament are 15/2 (8.5) with Ladbrokes.
After a not too convincing warm-up that included a home defeat to New Zealand (who finished bottom of their World Cup group), England have made steady progress in France. They kicked off with a 2-1 victory over Scotland but it wasn’t the most impressive of performances.
They have slowly improved though and followed that opening wins over Argentina and Japan (who knocked them out of the last tournament). Those victories saw them win their group and set up a last sixteen clash with Cameroon.
They won a controversial match 3-0 with VAR decisions left, right and centre. Heaven knows what it’ll be like when VAR is introduced into the English Premier League next season. This is the fifth Women’s World Cup finals that England have qualified for. Their success in France means they have reached the last eight in all of those appearances. Only in the last tournament did they manage to reach the semi-finals. There are odds of 11/10 (2.1) at Unibet that England will beat Norway in 90 minutes to make it into a likely semi-final against defending champions, the USA.
Norway won the Women’s World Cup in 1995 and have continued to have an impressive record in this tournament. Eight appearances have seem fail to get out of their group just once (2011) and four times the Norwegians have made it through to at least the semi-finals. The odds on them beating England in 90 minutes are 5/2 (3.5) if you place your wager with SkyBet.
They had a disappointing European Championships campaign in 2017. All three of their group games were lost and they failed to score a goal. They had few problems qualifying for this tournament finishing two points ahead of the Netherlands.
Norway were drawn in Group A alongside hosts France, Nigeria and South Korea. They finished second behind France (who beat them 2-1) but beat both Nigeria and South Korea to qualify. That took them into a last sixteen game against Australia and it proved to be a dramatic affair. They took a first-half lead but then saw their opponents equalize seven minutes from time. The game went to a penalty shoot-out the Norwegians coming out on top 4-1. Could we see another penalty shoot-out in this match? It’s 13/2 (7.5) at SkyBet that is the method of victory in this quarter-final.
Norway are no strangers to playing England in the Women’s World Cup. The two countries met in the last sixteen in 2015 with England earning a 2-1 win. At William Hill, you can get odds of 8/11 (1.72) on both teams scoring in this match. Lucy Bronze scored the winning goal in that game, she’s 6/1 (7.0) at SportPesa to score in this quarter-final. Norway’s only victory over England was in their first meeting 24 years ago in the 1995 Women’s World Cup tournament that they went on to win.
Phil Neville has employed a rotation policy in this tournament. Only their third-choice goalie has yet to make an appearance. More changes are likely for this game.
England have shown improvement throughout the tournament. It still remains to be seen whether they could cope with the USA but a win over Norway looks likely. The Norwegians struggle to keep clean sheets (one in the last five) and the odds on an England win with over 1.5 goals scored are 17/10 (2.7) if you place your bet with Paddy Power.