Norway vs. England: Lionesses ready to ‘embrace’ quarter-final pressure
Toni Duggan expects a World Cup ‘cracker’ against the Norwegians in Le Havre
Norway vs. England
- What: Fifa Women’s World Cup quarter-final
- When: Thursday 27 June
- Where: Stade Océane, Le Havre, France
- Kick-off time: 8pm (BST)
- TV coverage: live on BBC One
England head coach Phil Neville says his side will “embrace” the pressure of playing in a World Cup quarter-final.
The Lionesses face Norway tonight in Le Havre and the two European nations will be battling to secure a spot in the final four.
With the winners of tonight’s clash set to face France or the United States next, Neville is confident that the England players “won’t back off” at the Stade Océane.
“In the past, you’d probably shield the players from a fear of failure - but my girls don’t have that,” he said.
“We are going to embrace it. You have an unbelievable set of human beings who are now exactly where they want to be, where they’ve dreamed of - and they won’t back off. You will see that on the pitch.”
England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley echoed Neville’s confidence. She said: “We’ve never had more belief in this group that we do today. We are the most prepared team. We are the most resilient team.
“We’ve gathered momentum throughout the group stages, experiencing several different tests. I don’t think we have met our full potential yet and we have a very good chance of doing that [on Thursday].
“Three or four years ago we were crying out to get to these levels of attention and visibility. When we get here we’re not going to back off and say it’s a bit nerve-wracking.”
Duggan wary of ‘brilliant’ Norway
England forward Toni Duggan is expecting a “cracker” against the Norwegians tonight.
“I said in an interview the other day that they’re one of my teams to watch. But hopefully they’re not here too much longer!
“It’s going to be a great game, it really is. A lot of the [Norway] girls play in the WSL [Women’s Super League] and they’ve got some top players, but we can’t write ourselves off because we’ve been producing.
“We watched their game against Australia and it was a great battle; either team could have won, and I think our game is going to be pretty much the same. It’s going to be a cracker.”
As reported yesterday England defenders Steph Houghton and Millie Bright are both doubts for the clash against Norway. Captain Houghton suffered an ankle injury against Cameroon while Bright has a sickness bug.
Despite the prospect of the two central defenders missing out England boss Neville has faith in his squad.
Leah Williamson and Abbie McManus could come into the side and Neville said: “You guys have had an obsession with my rotation for the last 18 months... but it’s for moments like this.
“We can bring in two people who know the system and have utter belief and confidence in each other. It’s a seamless transition.”
Sjogren: we are not scared
After beating Australia on penalties in the round of 16 Norway are confident coming into the match against England. Head coach Martin Sjogren says his players are ready for the quarter-final.
He said: “We’re not scared of England. We have a lot of respect for the opponent, but we also have a strong team.”
The BBC reports that Norway will be without forward Emilie Bosshard Haavi because of a knee injury.
Fifa Women’s World Cup fixtures
BBC Sport will show live coverage of the World Cup. All times are BST.
Quarter-final fixtures and TV guide
- Thursday 27 June: Norway vs. England (8pm; Stade Océane, Le Havre; BBC One, red button, website and app)
- Friday 28 June: France vs. USA (8pm; Parc des Princes, Paris; BBC One, website and app)
- Saturday 29 June: Italy vs. Netherlands (2pm; Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes; BBC One website and app)
- Saturday 29 June: Germany vs. Sweden (5.30pm; Roazhon Park, Rennes; BBC Two, sport website and app)
Women’s World Cup semi-finals
- Tuesday 2 July: Norway/England vs. France/USA (8pm; Stade de Lyon, Lyon; BBC One)
- Wednesday 3 July: Italy/Netherlands vs. Germany/Sweden (8pm; Stade de Lyon, Lyon; BBC One)
When is the Women’s World Cup final?
The 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup final will be played at the Stade de Lyon on Sunday 7 July (4pm BST, live on BBC One).