England stunned Norway with a spectacular, record-setting performance to go to the knockout stages of the European Women’s Championship as group champions.
The crowd in Brighton was treated to a fantastic evening as England surpassed their own tournament record with an 8-0 victory in what was viewed as their toughest group stage test. The 11th-ranked Norwegians were outplayed, overwhelmed, and thoroughly stunned by a confident England team.
After a lackluster opening victory over Austria, England began the match cautiously, but after Georgia Stanway converted a 12-minute penalty, there was only one winner. Within thirty minutes, England’s lead was doubled by Lauren Hemp and Ellen White, and enthusiasm rippled through the Amex Stadium.
Beth Mead scored a hat-trick, Alessia Russo scored after coming off the bench, and Morgan White scored twice to draw within one goal of Wayne Rooney’s England all-time goalscoring record.
It was a performance that made a statement to the rest of Europe, as England cruised into the knockout round having solidified their reputation as one of the tournament favorites. Sarina Wiegman stated that she wanted her team to “entertain” in Brighton, and they certainly did so.
The awe-inspiring first-half performance astonished the entire stadium, with family and friends in the press box gasping and standing for the majority of it.
Every attack posed a threat to increase England’s score, and the Amex crowd knew it, shouting and rising to their feet in expectation. As one fan walked down the steps at halftime, he asked, “What’s going on?”
This was undoubtedly on the minds of Norway’s players as they rushed down the tunnel with their heads lowered, looking shell-shocked. The substitutes formed a guard of honor for the England players, clasping hands with each player as defender Millie Bright yelled “let’s go!”
The Lionesses’ 6-0 victory over Scotland in 2017 was the largest margin of victory in the history of the competition, and they matched it by halftime. In the second half, it was only a matter of time before that was defeated.
Martin Sjogren, the manager of Norway, attempted to put pressure on England in his pre-match press conference by saying that the hosts were the clear favorites for this match despite being rated only three places higher in the world.
Wiegman had downplayed the situation, smirking as she dismissed the possibility of extra pressure and simply stating, “It’s just a football game.”
England ensured that this was no ordinary football encounter. When the seventh goal was scored, the loudest rendition of “It’s coming home” could be heard across the stadium.
They rose to their feet as the players danced to the music blasting from the loudspeakers.
The displays of jubilation topped off a fantastic evening for the hosts, while Wiegman was allowed to rotate her players and give game time to those unlucky enough to be left out of the starting XI.
As a final performance, the players assembled in front of the crowd and the stand containing their families, held hands, and sang “Sweet Caroline” before taking an honour walk around the field.