England v Norway – Women’s World Cup Match Betting Preview
June 27, 2019
Tonight, England will take on Norway for a place in the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Should they win, it will be the second time that England have reached the semi-finals of the competition, but could this be the year they go further?
The signs are encouraging, although a virus in the England camp and a couple of injuries could weaken the team.
We were slightly harsh towards England in our last Women’s World Cup round-up, but only because we wanted them to kick it all up a gear. Against Norway, they’ll have to.
Let’s take a look at the Lionesses v Gresshoppene head-to-head.
Ranked third in the world, England have a good track record in this competition, but have never quite managed to make it to the final.
This time around, they have won all of their group matches and finished top of Group D with the maximum 9 points. The lionesses have been involved in more than their fair share of controversy in the group stages, with VAR decisions and disgraceful behaviour from the Cameroon players overshadowing their 3-0 victory.
It was a much-changed side who beat Cameroon, and manager Phil Neville has praised the strength and depth of his squad.
The England squad features both rising stars, such as 20-year-old Georgia Stanway, who plays for Manchester City and veterans of the game, including midfielder Jill Scott, who broke Peter Shilton’s record for the most England appearances at a World Cup, against Cameroon.
England’s central defence is likely to have a new look as Captain Steph Houghton is struggling to be fit after sustaining an ankle injury against Cameroon, whilst Millie Bright is battling a virus.
That could pave the way for Abbie McManus and Leah Williamson. Both have played already in the World Cup, and will be unphased by the occasion should they start.
Up front, Houghton’s Manchester City teammate, forward Ellen White is scoring at a rate of one every hour for the lionesses and could be key to England’s success.
White is also in the running for the Golden Boot, one goal behind Australia’s Sam Kerr and USA’s Alex Morgan, and will be keen to increase her tally.
The match is also set to be broadcast on big screens at Glastonbury, so no one misses out. That includes forward Stanway’s brother, who can hopefully cheer his sister on to glory surrounded by mud, booze and glitter, lovely.
Norway’s lowly position in the Women’s World Cup betting odds has a lot to do with their ranking – they are currently 12th in the world, behind the likes of Japan, Brazil, and Korea Republic, all of whom have already been knocked out.
However, this in turn reflects a dismal showing in the 2017 Euros, where they failed to score a single goal in the group stage and were therefore sent home embarrassingly early.
Yet they’ve not had the easiest route to the quarter-finals and have performed well under pressure. Beating the 2017 Euros champions Netherlands in the decisive qualifier was a particular highlight.
They finished second in group A, behind the then bookies favourites France, but their match against Les Bleus was hardly a hammering. A 72-minute VAR-awarded penalty from Eugenie Le Sommer was the decider, but France also scored an own goal and were frustrated by Norway for long periods. In fact, the teams looked fairly evenly matched, something Neville and the Lionesses will want to bear in mind ahead of tonight’s game.
Prior to the defeat, Norway demolished Nigeria 3-0 and they bounced back from the defeat with a 2-1 win over South Korea.
Swedish manager Martin Sjögren has turned his team around, following the Euros fiasco, and seems to have plugged the holes present in the defence, with Chelsea duo Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorisdóttir playing significant roles at the heart of the back four.
Norway are without the world’s best female player, Ada Hegerberg, who is protesting the inequality between the men and women’s games and is therefore abstaining from playing.
However, midfield sensation Caroline Graham Hansen is in top form, whilst veteran striker Isabell Herlovsen is a proven goal-machine with 57 goals for her country since 2005.
There are a couple of young recruits who will be looking to make a name for themselves on the world stage, whilst veteran goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth could also be key to stopping England, particularly if the game goes to penalties.
As an Englishman, Phil Neville will likely want his team to avoid penalties anyway, but a shootout could be especially dangerous against Norway.
The Grasshoppers scored all four of their penalties in their 4-1 win over Australia to reach the quarter-finals and may see a similar scenario as their best bet of getting past England.
Both goals against South Korea in the group stage were also penalties, so it’s safe to say Norway have the players to convert from the spot.
In contrast, only one of England’s goals so far in the competition has been a penalty – Nikita Parris scored from the spot 14 minutes into the lionesses’ opening group fixture against Scotland.
Even if the match does end in a shootout, though, England simply have to hold their nerve and let their quality shine through, the semi-finals beckons!
Neville has already donned a Southgate-style waistcoat, and shown similar passion and professionalism, but can his lionesses emulate their male counterparts and win a penalty shootout to reach the semi-finals?
It could just be written in the stars…
Come on England!
Find all your 2019 Women’s World Cup betting odds here
A Boro fan from birth, Elle is a qualified sports journalist and the former editor of the now-defunct sports site ComeOnBoro.com and Sporting Preview. Her work and strong opinions have been published in The News of the World, The Observer and BBC Tees Radio. After work in PR, Elle returned to her roots as a copywriter as a Content and SEO Editor at ActiveWin Media.