by Sylvain Jamet
Mark Sampson and his team made history as England registered their first ever knock-out stage win at a World Cup by defeating Norway by two goals to one.
Sampson made a his usual raft of changes from the previous game and all five Arsenal players were unfortunately unused subs in the game. The starting 11 was Bardsley, Bronze, Houghton, Bassett, Rafferty, Williams, Chapman, Moore, Carney, Kirby, Duggan.
Jill Scott came in for Kirby on 54th and Taylor came on for Duggan in the 63rd minute and both had a big influence on the final result. The Norwegian manager, Pellerud, actually praised Mark Sampson in the post game match conference: “We started to struggle in the second half, England’s coach was very clever tactically.”
Guldbransen scored for Norway in the 54th minute from a corner. Houghton equalised, also from a corner, in the 61st minute. Bronze scored the winner with a 25-yard top corner missile in the 76th minute.
I think the best way to describe this England team is pragmatism mixed with tactical flexibity and excellent personnel adaptability.
It seems Mark Sampson has kept the defensive mindset used by Hope Powell for the big games, especially in term of adaptating to the opposition’s strength and weaknesses. But he has also brought with him a plan B and game management that was sorely missed under the previous manager, hence the defeats at the WC 2007, OG 2012 and Euro 2013.
He has rotated his squad keeping players fresh and ready, which is important as the tournament is played on 3G pitches as well as in high temperatures. This leads to more-than-usual tiredness and fitness problems than on grass pitches.
The next round will see England take on the home team Canada. Again, it should be another tight game with both sides trying not to concede and shut up the opposition. Canada are a physical side that do not mind fouling if it is needed and it will surely be a physical battle rather than a football one.
England u17 drew 1-1 with Spain in their first Group game at the u17 Euros played in Iceland. Zoe Cross scored for England. Arsenal’s Chloe Kelly captained the side, Georgia Allen played 90 minutes alongside her captain. Rianna Dean started the game and was subbed on the 74th minute replaced by her Arsenal team-mate Charlie Devlin. New signings Sian Rogers and Lucy Parker were unused substitutes.
The next game will be played against the home team, Iceland, on Thursday 25th June.
There is a training camp taking place at the moment with Carla Humphrey and Frances Steele involved. The u19 finals will be played in Israel between 15th and 27th July.