Women’s World Cup: Five things you may have missed from the quarter-finals

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Ella Jerman takes a look at the five things you may have missed from the quarter-finals.


Lionesses make a roaring statement

The Lionesses are into a third consecutive semi-final at a major tournament after storming to a 3-0 victory over Norway in Le Havre courtesy of goals from Jill Scott, Ellen White and Lucy Bronze.

This was the night we finally saw England gel. The Lionesses had shown glimmers of their potential up to this point, but comfortably overcoming Norway proved they do have the ability to properly threaten the world’s best sides.

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England were devastating on the right flank with Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris while Ellen White demonstrated her goalscoring prowess again with her fifth of the tournament. Steph Houghton put on one of the best World Cup performances by an English defender, stepping in on numerous occasions with perfectly timed interventions.

The Lionesses got away with some sloppiness in defence in the second-half, but we must bear in mind that they have only conceded one goal in the tournament so far, and that came almost one month ago in the opening group game when Claire Emslie netted for Scotland.

The positives don’t stop there. The result also means there will be a Great Britain women’s team at Tokyo 2020 because England, alongside Netherlands and Sweden, are guaranteed to finish as one of the top three European teams at the tournament.


Lucy Bronze turns in golden performance

Phil Neville has said it before and now he’s saying it again – Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world.

If you’re in doubt, watch back her performance against Norway and you’ll see exactly where the Lionesses head coach is coming from.

In Bronze, we saw an international footballer well and truly at the top of her game. She helped set up the first two goals, linking up with Scott and Nikita Parris, before netting a spectacular third herself to take England through to the semis.

Before the tournament, Bronze’s brother Jorge sent her off to France with the advice of ‘Don’t be shit’ – I don’t think he had anything to worry about.


Déjà vu pour la France

France’s mission of becoming the first nation to simultaneously hold the men’s and women’s World Cup trophies fell well short as Corinne Diacre’s side were knocked out of a major tournament at the quarter-final stage once again, this time by the USA.

Megan Rapinoe scored a goal in each half to dent Les Bleues’ home World Cup dream, Wendie Renard’s header proving to be nothing but a consolation.

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The host nation, who were tipped by many as pre-tournament tournament favourites, has been eliminated at the quarter-final stage in each of the last four editions of the Women’s World Cup.

Meanwhile, the story reads quite the opposite for USA. The holders have never failed to reach the Women’s World Cup semi-finals and will face England in Lyon on Tuesday as they seek to win their fourth title in eight editions.


Netherlands leave it late

The Netherlands booked their place in the last four of the Women’s World Cup for the first time after beating Italy 2-0 in Valenciennes.

But the win was by no means easy and it took until the 70th minute for the European champions to break the deadlock through record scorer Vivianne Miedema before Stefanie van der Gragt added another with ten minutes to play.

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Leaving it late is becoming something of a common theme for the Netherlands, they narrowly progressed to the quarter-finals after winning a last-minute penalty against Japan last week.

They’ve got the job done so far with late winners, but the Netherlands will not want to put themselves under pressure when they battle Sweden next week for a place in the World Cup final.


The Scandinavian surprise

The odds were not in Sweden’s favour ahead of their quarter-final. They hadn’t beaten Germany at a major tournament since 1991 and their opponents had not conceded a goal all tournament.

But those streaks came to an end on Saturday as the Scandinavian outfit upset the second-ranked team in the world in Rennes, coming back from behind to win 2-1.

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Lina Magull opened the scoring for the Germans, but their lead only lasted six minutes, Sofia Jakobsson immediately pulling one back after Martina Voss Tecklenburg’s defenders were caught out by a lofty long ball.

It was the first World Cup goal Germany had conceded since losing to England in the 2015 third-place play-off and from there, things went from bad to worse. Stina Blacksteinius scored what proved to be the winner in the 48th minute to lift Sweden to a surprise comeback victory in Rennes.

Follow Ella on Twitter @EllaJerman

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