England vs Norway: Group A
After beating Austria in the Women’s Euros 2022 opener, the Lionesses will be looking to claim maximum points again when Norway visits the Amex Stadium. They were less than convincing, but Beth Mead’s first-half strike was enough for Sarina Weigman’s side to secure their seventh consecutive victory. It also extended their current unbeaten run to 15 games. However, Norway would prove a tricky encounter as they travel to Brighton in a confident mood. The two-time winners were on a rampage in their opening game. They put four past Northern Ireland, extending their winning streak to six games. England would need to be at their best to come away with a victory.
The Lionesses have an offensive depth strong enough to fire them past the Grasshoppers, who are not the strongest defensively. But they would also be wary of protecting their backline as the visitors have shown they can cause problems on the attack. The Norwegians have scored at least two goals in each of their six consecutive wins. Both sides are familiar foes on the biggest stage. Martin Sjogren’s side has beaten the Lionesses in two of their last three meetings. However, Weigman’s white angels knocked them out of the 2015 and 2019 World Cup.
The Lionesses lay siege on the Grasshoppers
The game got off to a fast start as both sides struggled for control of possession. Norway was the first to settle on the ball, but England struck first. Manchester City’s Ellen White was brought down in the penalty area by Maria Thorisdottir, and Georgia Stanway converted from the spot in the 7th minute. The Norwegians were rattled by the early goal but didn’t have time to regain control when Lauren Hemp doubled England’s lead five minutes later. Arsenal’s Beth Mead drove into the box before setting up Hemp at the far post, and the winger tapped into an open net. The referee ruled for an offside, but her decision was overturned by VAR.
Hemp had a chance to squash the grasshopper’s hopes of a potential comeback two minutes later. But she couldn’t turn the ball in after a corner sat up beautifully for her. However, White would ensure it was game set and match in the 30th minute. Thorisdottir gifted the Manchester City forward her first goal since April when her poor touch allowed White to go one-on-one with Guro Pettersen. The 33-year-old made no mistake, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.
England just kept coming back. The Norwegians couldn’t get a break. It was like France vs Italy all over again! White had just beaten Pettersen a minute ago, but she came back to have another go. Pettersen came out on top this time. The ball fell to the forward on the edge of the six-yard box, and She got her shot away but was denied by the Valerenga goalie.
Beth Mead got in on the goal fest in the 34th minute. Chelsea’s Maren Mjelde lost out on a duel to White, and England pounced in transition. White set it back to Hemp, who found Mead with a cross, and she buried her header into the top right corner. It was her second goal of the competition and her 16th in 15 appearances under Sarina Wiegman. Mead grabbed her second five minutes later when she weaved past four defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
And then it was SIX! The barrage continued. Chelsea’s Fran Kirby drilled an excellent cross into the post. White was lurking unmarked at the far post and couldn’t have had an easier task of tapping into an empty net. White was a touch away from a first-half hat trick and England’s seventh, but she couldn’t get there in time to slot home another wicked Beth Mead cross. Norway started the game on a lively note, but the Lionesses refused to be tamed, and Wiegman’s side took a 6-0 lead into halftime.
Battered Norway Barely Put Up a Fight
After putting in a faultless performance in the opening half-hour, it was up to England to either go for more or show compassion. Norway was well and truly done for, but it wasn’t over yet. Lauren Hemp drove a cross into the danger area, and Pettersen parried, but only as far as Mead. She tried to volley it, but her effort sailed over the crossbar.
Manchester United’s Alessia Russo came off the bench to make it seven in the 66th minute. Stanway received the ball in midfield and found Bronze on the right. The Barcelona defender put in a first-time cross and Russo, despite being crowded out by three defenders, headed home. Alex Greenwood rattled the crossbar in the 75th minute after Ella Toone set her up on the edge of the box. Beth Mead finally got her hattrick in the 81st minute after Pettersen parried the ball into her path. She had the simple task of a tap-in, and she obliged.
France became the first side in Women’s Euro history to score five goals in the first half of a game. But England broke the record, putting six past a helpless Norway side at halftime. The Lionesses showed a different side to the team that managed a one-goal win against Austria. Norway was supposed to be a more fierce opponent, but they barely put up a fight. The win guaranteed Wiegman’s side passage into the next round. They still have to face Austria who beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in the first game.