‘No fear’: England confident of overcoming semi-final curse after beating Norway

first_imgEllen White grabbed her fifth goal of the tournament five minutes prior to half-time and Bronze made sure of the victory with a rising shot high into the net as the hour mark approached.England were so comfortable towards the end that they could even afford to squander a penalty, Nikita Parris having her late spot-kick saved.There were striking similarities between Bronze’s effort here and her goal that gave England a 2-1 win over the same opponents at the 2015 World Cup.The Lionesses went out of that tournament in the semi-finals and also fell in the last four at Euro 2017. Now they will hope to go a step further, although a daunting challenge awaits against hosts France or holders the United States in Lyon next Tuesday.“We are a team that has lost in the semi-finals of the last two major tournaments and I suppose the main reason I was brought into this job was to get us through a semi-final,” Neville said.“What I said to them at the end, and I am not ashamed to say it, was ‘are you ready to win a World Cup’, because we are in it to win it and I think we are in good shape.”France and the USA meet in a blockbuster quarter-final in Paris on Friday, but Neville insisted his team are not afraid of what awaits them next.“Both teams hold no fear for my players. We actually said when we qualified against Japan that that we were in the best side of the draw because of this semi-final.“My players and I want the biggest games and this will be the biggest game of the World Cup.”Norway had ousted Australia on penalties in the last round, but this was a step too far for a team who came to France without their superstar striker Ada Hegerberg.“We lost against a better team than us,” admitted coach Martin Sjogren. “Of course we believed we could hurt England, but at this stage of the tournament all teams are very, very good.”– Landmark goal for Scott –They could not recover after falling behind to Scott’s early goal, with the outstanding Bronze charging forward down the right and cutting the ball back for the Manchester City midfielder to side-foot in off the far post.It was a landmark goal for Scott, who first found the net for her country against Argentina at the 2007 World Cup.David Beckham attended England’s win over Norway in Le Havre along with his daughter Harper © AFP / Damien MEYEREngland looked like scoring every time they came forward in the first half, with White hitting the post before the second goal came on 40 minutes.This time Parris teed up White to convert from inside the six-yard box and join Australia’s Sam Kerr and Alex Morgan of the USA at the top of the World Cup scorers’ chart.Any hopes Norway had of a second-half comeback were doused in the 57th minute when Bronze was fouled on another charge forward. Substitute Beth Mead laid the ball back to Bronze from the resulting free-kick, and the Lyon star smashed home in style.England then stood firm to secure a fourth straight clean sheet, although they missed the chance to score a fourth goal from the spot with seven minutes left.Captain Steph Houghton was shoved over in the box by Maria Thorisdottir, but Parris saw her kick from 12 yards kept out by Ingrid Hjelmseth.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Lucy Bronze’s brilliant goal capped a 3-0 win for England over Norway in their World Cup quarter-final © AFP / LOIC VENANCELe Havre, France, Jun 28 – England’s women have their sights set on ending their semi-final curse after a stunning strike by Lucy Bronze helped Phil Neville’s team to a 3-0 win over Norway in Le Havre on Thursday and took them into the last four of the World Cup.David Beckham was among the crowd at the Stade Oceane to see midfield stalwart Jill Scott open the scoring inside three minutes of this quarter-final, becoming just the second English player to score at three separate women’s World Cups.last_img read more

Trojans oblivious to Notre Dame rivalry

first_imgLOS ANGELES — When Lou Holtz coached Notre Dame, he gave players a quiz on the Irish-USC rivalry the week of the game. Contrast that with USC wide receiver Patrick Turner’s view of college football’s greatest intersectional matchup. “I know it’s big because I play the NCAA 2006 (video game) and it’s listed as a rivalry game,’ Turner said. USC coach Pete Carroll laughed at that comment Thursday, but he also enjoyed the lack of awareness because it’s the mind-set he wants. “This (rivalry) doesn’t mean anything to these guys,’ he said. “They don’t need to be fired up extra. That’s not what you want to do. It doesn’t work.’ Carroll loathes making one game more important and never mentioned the significance of playing Notre Dame during team meetings this week. “He doesn’t bring it up or if he did, I wasn’t paying attention,’ offensive lineman Winston Justice said. “I think of Notre Dame as a normal team. The importance of the rivalry doesn’t mean anything.’ It’s hard to argue with that approach, considering Carroll defeated Notre Dame the past three years by an identical 31 points. In fact, blowouts are probably the only real memory most of the Trojans have of Notre Dame. They sure aren’t experts in the storied tradition between the schools. For the past three years, the lobby in Heritage Hall showcased the Shillelagh, a wooden Gaelic war club that features rubies for each USC victory and emeralds for each Notre Dame win. center_img Most players are unaware of the foot-long club even though they walk past it several times a day. “What’s that?’ defensive end Jeff Schweiger said. “All I know is that this is some type of rivalry. I don’t worry. It’s just football.’ And this comes from a player actively recruited by Notre Dame. “They recruited me but I didn’t take a trip there,’ Schweiger said. “I didn’t really like (former coach Tyrone) Willingham. He seemed too nonchalant.’ Justice never heard of the Shillelagh either, but like most USC players, he has one strong image of Notre Dame. “I saw Rudy,’ he said. “It’s a pretty good movie.’ Schweiger said he’s heard the famous Notre Dame saying, “Win one for the Gipper.’ It refers to Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne telling his team at the 1928 Army game that a former player, George Gipp, said on his deathbed to “when things look real tough’ to “win for me.’ “I remember that line in Rudy,’ Schweiger said. Not everyone is ignorant of the rivalry. USC linebacker Brian Cushing knows the tradition because he nearly committed to the Irish and grew up in New Jersey. And center Ryan Kalil is Catholic and attended Servite High in Anaheim. “I’m pretty familiar with the rivalry,’ Kalil said. “Everybody’s seen `Rudy.’ It’s a great tradition. Everyone talks about the hype and my first time there, it was a cool place. The fans are awesome.’ Kalil knows Notre Dame leads the series 42-29-5 but said, “I only care about our reign here.’ He also embraces Carroll’s laid- back attitude toward the rivalry, because he remembers Servite placing too much emphasis on its game with arch-rival Mater Dei of Santa Ana, a game Kalil never won. “My senior year, we were better than them but we put more energy into the rivalry than the game itself,’ Kalil said. “They ended up winning. “One of the reasons for success here is we don’t care about who we play. It’s never been about anything the other team does.’ But Kalil is in the minority with his knowledge. Freshman cornerback Kevin Thomas grew up in St. Louis, but said he never heard of Rockne, the Shillelagh or “Win one for the Gipper.’ “The rich tradition is new to me,’ Thomas said. “I’m from the Midwest, I wasn’t a USC fan. But I hadn’t heard of those things either.’ Scott Wolf can be reached at (818) 713-3607. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img