Norway have the class to end England’s World Cup dreams
England Women’s coach Paul Sampson has a few selection headaches ahead of his team’s last 16 tie with Norway in Ottawa.
Sampson’s supporters have been applauding his utilisation of his squad, who have beaten Mexico and Colombia since losing their opening match with France. But critics say that, after a prolonged qualifying campaign and three matches in Canada, he still doesn’t know his best team even though he does now have a settled back five.
It was good to see Karen Bardsley put a couple of nervous performances behind her to shine against Colombia but the American-born Manchester City goalkeeper is likely to have more to do against the Norwegians, who beat Thailand and the Ivory Coast in the group stages and held favourites Germany to a draw.
That said, England are currently ranked five places higher than their opponents so there is no reason why they can’t win their first-ever match in the knockout stages of a World Cup. Norway’s central defenders aren’t the quickest so Sampson will be tempted to recall the speedy Eniola Aluko, though Karen Carney has scored two in two and it will be difficult to drop Toni Duggan, who was a constant threat in the game against Colombia.
England will have to get their tactics spot-on to win this tie. They’ve been fading in the latter stages of matches and need to keep the ball better. Norway have been coming on strong in the second half of games and could be the value to end England’s World Cup hopes in 90 minutes at 7/4. The Norwegians are 9/1 to win 2-1 in our correct score betting.
The match kicks off at 10.00pm on Monday, June 22nd at the Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa