Tournament and results so far
Women's World Cup has entered the quarterfinal stage. First match will be played between Norway and England. Winner of the match will face either France or USA in the semifinals. USA and France will face each other tomorrow. Italy, The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden will play on Saturday.
Norway finished 2nd in their group with 6 points. Norway won their opener game against Nigeria 3-0, then lost to group winner France 2-1 and finished the group stage by winning South Korea 2-1. Two goals out of Norway's six were own goals and two goals were scored from penalties. Each goal was scored by a different player. In round of 16 Norway beat one of the medal candidates Australia. The game ended 2-1 in Norway's favor after penalties. Isabell Herlovsen scored for Norway on regular time and is now leading goal scorer for them with two goals.
England has won every game they have played in this tournament. The Lionesses won their group scoring 5 goals and giving away only one and eventually getting full 9 points. England gave away their only goal in the whole tournament in their first game as they beat Scotland 2-1. After that they won Argentina 1-0 and in the last group stage game they won Japan 2-0. In round of 16 Cameroon lost to England 3-0 in a game where lot of drama took place. 30-year-old Ellen White leads The Lionesses in goals. She has 4 goals in 4 games, while rest of the England's goals have been scored by a different player.
Form and statistics
Norway and England have very similar forms going into this match. Both teams have won four out of their past five. Norway beat South Africa just before the tournament 2-7 and England lost to New Zealand 0-1. In this Women's World Cup tournament England has obviously done better. The Lionesses are scoring 2 goals per game on average, while giving away only 0,25. England has won the ball possession in every game they have played in the tournament and they are averaging little over 500 passes per game.
Norway has been struggling, especially in the group stage games. They tied the ball possession against France, but lost scoring chances 16 to 5 and shots on target 5 to 1. Against South Korea Norway got hammered by their opponent. South Korea won both ball possession (61-39%) and scoring chances (23-8), but the two penalty shots saved Norway from draw and even from loss. Norway has little over 400 passes on average per game. In their 4 games Norway has scored 1,75 goals per game on average and given away 1 goal per game on average. Of course two of Norway's goals have been own goals.
Conclusion - What to play here?
England has been really strong team defensively and their defensive line has been almost the same the whole tournament. Lucia Bronze and Stepanie Houghton have played all of the games and Millie Bright and Alex Greenwood have 3 games each. Ellen White forms dangerous attacking line with anyone on her wings. Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan will most likely start with her. England has played the whole tournament with 4-3-3 formation and will most likely start the same formation in this game also.
Norway has used standard 4-4-2 formation with Herlovsen up front with either Caroline Hansen or Lisa-Marie Utland. Norway has had some luck on their side, but they are doing things right also, turning their few opportunities into their favor. Norway's starting eleven has been the same pretty much the whole tournament.
England is one of the biggest favorites to win the whole tournament. They are working hard and controlling the ball really well. I believe that England will have the control in this game as well. With their talent up front and especially in the defensive end, England should be scoring at least once and holding Norway down to zero. England is on a roll and really hard to win right now, so I'm picking England to go into semifinals.