Amid all of the controversy in the aftermath of the Cameroon clash, it should be remembered how impressive England were at times in that victory. Phil Neville’s Lionesses have reached the quarter finals of their fourth-straight World Cup after winning 3-0, and though their opponents quite clearly lost their heads, England deserve credit as they prepare to face Norway.
They started with real purpose, doing exactly what they have been for much of the tournament so far by overloading the flanks and creating space in the middle of midfield. Once again, that allowed Fran Kirby and Jill Scott the space to supply Ellen White up front, though it was a surprisingly quiet game for Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan, who started the day out wide.
But Neville will be aware of the consistent issue facing his side; their inability to keep intensity up as games go on. On this occasion, their early goal, a free-kick inside the box scored by captain Steph Houghton, probably made them too comfortable, and they will get caught out by better teams if they do not improve quickly.
Will Norway be that team? Only time will tell, but even though they don’t have the individual quality of England, France or the USA, their main strengths lie in an area of the pitch that will really open England up to danger. Read More