- England blew Norway away in a stunning first-half display at the Amex Stadium
- The hosts were 6-0 up by 45 minutes with braces for Ellen White and Beth Mead
- Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp also got in on the action in the first half
- Alessia Russo headed just after the hour mark before Mead scored her third
Before the goals came tumbling in and all hell was let loose, Millie Bright shut out the early threat of Ada Hegerberg, one of the continent’s great players, pressing the space with composure and watchfulness.
Hegerberg insisted after her team had conceded a solitary goal to Northern Ireland that ‘we can’t let this happen again.’ There were fears for an England defense whose four starting personnel were all right-footed.
If all the dark horses defend like Norway, though, the attack will be the only form of defense needed. The notion that Norway has advanced as a side since England beat them 3-0 in the last World Cup was shredded as utterly as their defense was cut away.
Beth Mead’s first major tournament hat-trick saw England cruise past Norway 8-0 in Brighton
For a time, as Ellen White advanced screaming down the right touchline for each restart and the dominant children’s voices in the crowd squealed ‘football’s coming home, there was only euphoria.
In those moments, you remembered Georgia Stanway, an emerging star at the last World Cup, so startled to be selected to face Japan that Phil Neville told her ‘to pretend you’re in the park, playing with your friends.’
And then you watched her here, thrashing home the penalty won by Ellen White which was the only remotely dubious part of the whole affair. Bullying her way into possession and running her teammates in behind the straw defense.
But it was when the fifth goal went in that the night morphed from something spectacular into a spectacle that was not serving this tournament as much as it might.