Women's Team

Scott and White help fire England into semi-finals

ROAR POWER: Nikita Parris and Ellen White salute Jill Scott after the City midfielder's sensational early strike for England
Goals from City’s Jill Scott and Ellen White helped inspire England to a stunning 3-0 World Cup quarter-final win over Norway.

Midfielder Scott gave England the perfect start in Le Havre with a third minute opener – the Lionesses’ quickest-ever goal at a World Cup - before striker White then netted her fifth strike of the tournament before half time.

And a thunderous goal from Lucy Bronze set the seal on a superb all-round display to book England a second successive World Cup semi-final next Tuesday where they will meet either hosts France or the United States who play tomorrow.

Lionesses boss Phil Neville made just one change from the side which overcame Cameroon 3-0 in the last 16 with City left back Demi Stokes coming in for Alex Greenwood.

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With skipper Steph Houghton – and central defensive partner Millie Bright - both passed fit, it meant there were six City players in the starting line-up with keeper Karen Bardsley, midfielder Keira Walsh and Jill Scott and striker Ellen White also selected.

And inside three minutes it was Scott – now England’s all-time record appearance holder at World Cups with 19 caps – who struck the first blow to get the Lionesses off to a flier.

Superb work from Lucy Bronze on the right flank opened up the Norwegians defence and through White missed Bronze’s cut-back, Scott – enjoying a superb campaign – showed wonderful technique and vision to steer the ball inside the post to make it the perfect start.

It was also England’s fastest-ever goal at a World Cup finals.

                        SHEER JOY : Jill Scott celebrates with her team-mates after her early goal
SHEER JOY : Jill Scott celebrates with her team-mates after her early goal

England then should have made it two on 20 minutes. More excellent vision from Houghton and Scott put in Nikita Parris and after cutting inside her Norwegian marker, the former City player could only fire wide with the goal gaping.

And the Lionesses were then desperately unlucky on 29 minutes when Ellen White smashed a thunderous shot against the post after a fine pass from Parris.

But White didn’t have to wait much longer before finding the target to register her fifth goal of this World Cup after yet another superb England move.

Houghton fed Bronze who, in turn, cut the ball inside to Parris. The winger then timed her pass inside to White to perfection and the striker, who officially joins City on July 1st, gratefully tapped into an open net from a yard out.

It took her joint top in the race for the 2019 Golden Boot on five goals with America’s Alex Morgan, and it was here sixth World Cup finals goal in total for England, making her the Lionesses' all-time leading World Cup goal-scorer.

                        DOUBLE DELIGHT : Ellen White celebrates after making it 2-0 for England
DOUBLE DELIGHT : Ellen White celebrates after making it 2-0 for England

With Norway needing an immediate response after the break, it took a magnificent defensive block from Houghton to preserve England’s two goal lead.

Maren Mjelde was allowed the space to lift a ball into the box which was headed down into the centre and put on a plate for Caroline Graham Hansen.

Houghton though was alert to the danger and had the presence of mind to make a vital interception.

And just before the hour the Lionesses all but sealed their passage through to the semi-finals with a quite brilliant goal from Bronze.

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The Lyon star lashed home an unstoppable 25 yard strike from a short free-kick that thundered into the net to the acclaim of 21,000 strong crowd in Le Havre.

Norway remained a threat and it needed timely interventions from first Houghton and then Bardsley to deny Lisa-Marie Utland.

The only blot on England's collective copy book was the fact Parris then saw an 83rd minute penalty saved - her second spot-kick miss at France 2019 - after Houghton had been pushed in the box.

But otherwise, with the Lionesses now having gone more than six hours without conceding a goal, it was the perfect night for England.

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