England Women are expected to stay on course for World Cup glory when they take on Norway in Le Havre on Thursday.
The Lionesses have been building momentum nicely in the tournament in France so far and should have too much for a Norway side looking for revenge after losing to England in the last 16 four years ago.
Phil Neville’s side were solid if unspectacular in the group stage, beating Scotland 2-1, Argentina 1-0 and Japan 2-0. They then raised their level to comfortably knock Cameroon out in the first knockout round, winning 3-0.
England were fancied to make at least the semi-finals again in the World Cup before a ball was kicked and nothing we have seen in the tournament so far goes against that view.
The matches have been somewhat overshadowed by plenty of controversial VAR moments, while the headlines after England’s Cameroon success were all about the African side’s poor reaction to the video-assisted goals and their apparent all-round lack of discipline.
That could help England in the long run as they actually put in a fine performance in the round of 16 that went under the radar.
Neville has fitness doubts over important pair Millie Bright and Steph Houghton and losing either or both women would be a blow.
Leah Williamson and Abbie McManus are on standby to replace them although the Lionesses would be weakened if the key duo are not passed fit.
Lucy Bronze and Jill Scott have impressed in the tournament so far, while Ellen White‘s four goals means she’s in contention to win the Golden Boot. Expect the Manchester City forward to add to her tally on Thursday.
Norway finished second in Group A after beating Nigeria and South Korea but losing to hosts France. They are dangerous opponents after edging out Australia on penalties in the last 16.
Lisa-Marie Utland and Isabell Herlovsen will need to be kept quiet and it would be no surprise to see the Norwegians breach England’s defence given they have scored in every game in the tournament so far and boast seven goals in total.
Backing both teams to score with an England win looks astute, while 2-1 to the Lionesses in the correct-score market at 8/1 also appeals.