Bronze helps England beat Norway to reach World Cup semis

LE HAVRE, France — As England practiced a set-piece routine hours before facing Norway, defender Lucy Bronze was determined to apply the finishing touch.

“I’ll hit it tonight,” Bronze told coach Phil Neville, “because I’ll score.”

She certainly did, sealing a 3-0 victory on Thursday night after helping set up the first two goals to get England into its second straight Women’s World Cup semifinal.

After first-half goals from Jill Scott and Ellen White, Bronze’s chance came in the 57th minute.

With England preparing to take a free kick on the left side, Norway was expecting it to be swung into the penalty area. But Beth Mead hit Bronze, who was at the edge of the penalty area alone, and the right back connected, raising the ball high into the roof of the net with her shot.

Nodding in approval from the stands was David Beckham, who high-fived Sue Campbell, the head of women’s soccer in England.

While Beckham never made it past a quarterfinals as a player for England’s men’s team, the Lionesses are in their third successive semifinal after also making the final four at the 2017 European Championship.

England is two games away from winning its first major women’s title.

After finishing third at the last tournament four years ago, England will next face either France or the United States on Tuesday.

The support from home is growing.

A video message from retired rowing champion Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, was played in the team meeting attended by Beckham.

“It gave you goosebumps,” Neville said, “about what it takes to win.”

Rob Harris is an Associated Press writer.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Bronze-helps-England-beat-Norway-to-reach-World-14057438.php.

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