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Women's Football News
Norway 1 (Gulbrandsen 54) England 2 (Houghton 60, Bronze 76)
England came from a goal behind to beat Norway in Ottawa and equal their best ever performance in the World Cup.
Lucy Bronze was the unlikely goalscoring hero with a powerful 20-yard strike after Steph Houghton had cancelled out Solveig Gulbrandsen's goal early in the second half and hosts Canada now await in the quarter finals.
Mark Sampson rang the changes once again with Bronze, Claire Rafferty, Laura Bassett and Katie Chapman all returning to the starting eleven in hot conditions in the Canadian capital, England reverting to their more conservative tactics from earlier in the tournament.
There was a huge scare for England though as Isabell Herlovsen's pass released Ada Hederberg through on goal but Karen Bardsley came to their rescue by blocking the resulting shot with her legs. More hesitation in the defence led to another half chance for Norway from Solveig Gulbrandsen's cross, the angle was too tight though for Kristine Minde and her shot hit the side netting.
Hegerberg was unable to direct a header on target from an Ingrid Moe Wold cross but England began to come more into the game without being really threatening, the only effort of note on goal coming from a Fara Williams free kick which sailed well over the bar.
England did have a let off though as half time approached, Bronze leaving a back pass short and Hegerberg nipped in and stayed on her feet when Bronze appeared to grab hold of her, before her shot was saved by Bardsley.
The second half started in the same vein that the first had finished but nine minutes after the restart, the stalemate was broken. The corner was rather needlessly conceded as Gulbrandsen's shot looked to be going well wide before Bardsley palmed it away, England then made a substitution before the corner was taken with Jill Scott replacing Fran Kirby and Lene Mykjaland's kick was headed on at the near post by Gulbrandsen and in off the woodwork before Bronze could hack it away.
However just as things were looking bleak, England hit back with their first worthwhile goal attempt on the hour. After winning a corner on the right, Williams' corner was met by a header from Houghton and in off the post for the equaliser.
The goal gave England the lift they needed with Karen Carney making a good break down the left and her cross just evaded Chapman in the centre, with Jill Scott's shot being charged down.
Elise Thorsnes almost made a huge impact at the other end with her first touch after coming on, volleying over at the far post from a cross. Maren Mjelde also threatened with a strong run which took her into the England area before her shot was blocked by Bassett.
Back came England and after good build up play involving Scott and Jodie Taylor, the ball was laid back to Bronze who struck home a powerful shot from 20 yards, Hjelmseth getting a hand to the ball but not keeping it out.
It could have been three when Scott's cross from the right was not cleared, Chapman laid the ball off to Carney whose low shot was turned around the post by Hjelmseth.
Norway were beginning to look tired now but Hegerberg was still a threat and a long range effort from the striker went close, dipping just over the bar.
This was to be the last moment of anxiety though and England expertly ran down the clock by keeping possession in the Norway half to finally celebrate a victory in the knockout stages of the competition.
Norway: Ingvild Hjelmseth, Maren Mjelde, Marita Skammelsrud Lund, Gry Tofte Ims, Ingrid Moe Wold (sub Lisa-Marie Utland 86mins), Lene Mykjaland, Trine Ronning (sub Maria Thorisdottir 45mins), Solveig Gulbrandsen, Isabell Herlovsen, Ada Hederberg, Kristine Minde (sub Elise Thorsnes 69mins).
England: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Claire Rafferty, Fara Williams, Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett, Karen Carney, Katie Chapman, Toni Duggan (sub Jodie Taylor 63mins), Fran Kirby (sub Jill Scott 53mins), Jade Moore.
Player of the match: Karen Bardsley.
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