Let’s hope there are fewer talking points in this quarter-final match than there were in England’s last match.
The Lionesses have obviously progressed to this point in the tournament, but a 3-0 win against Cameroon was marred by several incidents. Some of which were bizarre to watch.
Nikita Parris was elbowed early doors by Cameroon defender Yvonne Leuko. It didn’t go to VAR and only a yellow card was awarded. Ten minutes later Augustine Ejangue passed the ball back to keeper Annette Ngo Ndom, resulting in an indirect freekick in the area, to the frustration of the Cameroon players.
There was also spitting incident involving Toni Duggan but no one cared. Even if the officials did, it looked to be by accident.
Steph Houghton made the most of the freekick and after 14 minutes, England led 1-0, the third time they have scored their opening goal in the 14th minute in this competition (You can get 7/2 if you think they’ll do that again in the Time of First Goal by Time Interval market).
Deep into injury-time in the first half, Ellen White then pounced to make it 2-0. The goal was ruled offside, but after a VAR check, it was correctly called onside. Their opponents were protesting that it was, from a split-second view they saw from inside the pitch.
They temporarily stopped the game and tempers didn’t calm when going into the second half.
This time it looked to be 2-1 as Cameroon took advantage of a sloppy England second-half. Which seems to be an occurring theme. Luckily for them, it was ruled offside. Cue more protests, anger, and delays to the game.
Fortunately for England, Les Lionnes had their roar silenced, with Alex Greenwood netting the third.
For all the drama, the Lionesses had kept their head above it. But once again, in the second half, their concentration dropped off. It’s something they haven’t learnt from and will be punished by a very good Norway team.
Not only that, but I don’t believe Phil Neville knows what his strongest XI is.
I’m all for rotation, and if you have a bunch of good players it shouldn’t matter, however I still question if he knows his best starting line-up. I’m not convinced with how Keira Walsh has been playing in a few of these games and I don’t think she offers enough protection in front of the back four. As was the case with the Japan match.
I talked a bit about Norway in my last column and couldn’t understand why they weren’t favourites against Australia. Although I backed them to win in 90 minutes and I kicked myself when Australia equalised within the last ten minutes, they still made it through in on penalties.
They’re being heavily underrated here too and I can see this being a hard-fought battle until the very end. They had a harder group and only lost to France, the World Cup favourites, by a goal. That’s why you should back Norway To Qualify at 29/20.
Best Bet: Norway To Qualify – 29/20
They haven’t needed Ballon D’or winner Ada Hegerberg either. With attacking talents such as Guro Reiten, Isabell Herlovsen and Caroline Graham Hansen, they’ve scored in every match in this competition (although against France it was a Wendie Renard own goal).
Herlovsen has two goals so far, and she shares the penalty-taking duties with Graham Hansen, so back either the latter to score at 23/10 or take a cheeky punt on Herlovsen to score and Norway to win at 7/1 with Power Prices.
Again, I’m not sure what Neville will do to his England side, but there’s no denying that Ellen White has been a pacey and an efficient goalscorer with four goals to her name in this tournament. It may be a close and nervy match, but if anyone scores on the Lionesses side, it will be her.
Best Bet: Ellen White to score anytime – 7/4