England 8-0 Norway. England release the hand break as Norway are a car crash.
To put it simply: England played very well. Norway probably played the worst that they have ever played.
This game was like France beating Italy 5-1 the day before, on steroids.
Funnily enough, it was set to be a cagey affair. There was trepidation coming into the match for England, who didn’t exactly have a convincing performance against Austria on Wednesday. Meanwhile Norway’s attack was in full flow against Northern Ireland with Caroline Graham Hansen absolutely running the show.
Norway’s back four however, three of which are not in their preferred position, did show some susceptibility. Such susceptibility was brought right to the forefront against England. They were well and truly ripped apart.
England settled into the game an awful lot better than they did against Austria (which frankly wasn’t hard because they were all over the place), and were awarded a penalty 9 minutes in.
It was soft, but Maria Thorisdottir did have her hands all over Ellen White. Georgia Stanway dispatched it expertly into the side netting, with a confidence that was mirrored by the rest of the performance.
Norway’s collapse and England’s surge, essentially began there. Hegerberg, Graham Hansen et al couldn’t get a kick, and it was 2 for England 5 minutes later.
Beth Mead did all of the work on the right leaving Lauren Hemp to finish it from the closest of range. It was flagged for offside but after a quick VAR check, it was established that Hemp was comfortably onside.
Thorisdottir’s nightmare continued, being pressed high by Mead and Ellen White, with the latter robbing her of the ball and making it 3-0 with a finish into the bottom corner.
England were absolutely all over Norway. Julie Blakstad (who is really not a defender) was having a nightmare at left back against Mead and the Norwegian midfield was non-existent. Norway manager Martin Sjögren quite unbelievably didn’t change anything.
It only got better for England and worse for Norway, with Mead scoring two goals in three minutes. Hemp returned the favour and set up Mead for a simple header to make it 4.Mead then sent Blakstad back to Norway, before manouvering her way further into the box and finishing for the fifth. Game over.
White (who had her best game for a while) got her second a few minutes later, flying in to meet a cross from Fran Kirby.
That left England 6-0 up at half time. Even the Lionesses themselves looked like they couldn't believe it. They didn’t half pick a good time to get over their recent lacklustre first half goalscoring record.
Norway went to a back 5 for the second half. Why they bothered changing anything at 6-0 down and not when the game was still salvageable, who knows. To be fair they were somewhat improved in the second half, England also took their foot off the gas a touch, which helped.
Although England weren’t firing goals in left, right and centre in the second half, Norway still couldn’t drag themselves into the game for love nor money. Hemp and White had good chances for England early on.
Wiegman made a triple substitution on the hour mark once more, bringing on Alessia Russo, Ella Toone and Alex Greenwood. All three did well, granted Norway looked as though they had given up a bit by this point. The whole second half felt like some of the Lionesses recent World Cup qualifiers, which have ended in cricket scores. It’s all very bizarre when you consider that Norway are ranked 11th in the world and usually are very good.
Russo, who has been excellent recently, headed in Lucy Bronze’s looping cross for Englands seventh, her first goal in a major tournament.
Mead finished the scoring, shortly after Greenwood hit the bar, getting her hat-trick by tapping in after Walsh’s long range effort was parried by the goalkeeper. Beth Mead’s revenge tour has well and truly arrived at Euro 2022. From being left out of the Olympic squad to having 4 goals in 2 games at the Euros and 18 goals in 15 appearances under Wiegman. Quite some turnaround.
It finished 8-0, it could have very much been well into double figures. It was expected that England could exploit Norway's defensive frailties, but just not with quite such ferocity.
For Norway, their position is now very precarious, not only did they lose, but their goal difference has taken a massive hit. They need to win against Austria to qualify for the quarter finals. Austria only need a draw.
There were already questions being asked of Martin Sjögren, these will only intensify. A team with the attacking talent of Norway not even managing a shot on target is not a good look. Not to mention conceding eight goals.
As for England, they have guaranteed top spot in Group A in style. Although, as Wiegman pointed out, they haven’t won anything yet. The Lionesses will face a tougher test (likely none other Spain or Germany) in the quarter final, who you would assume will ask them a lot more questions.
Northern Ireland are next though, who have nothing to lose. Whilst England need to keep their momentum going. Should be fun.