Alnwick’s Lucy Bronze fired in a cracking winner tonight as England broke the curse and won a World Cup knockout game for the first time, beating Norway 2-1.
The 23-year-old was back in the starting line-up for the clash in Ottawa this evening, which remained goalless at half-time.
The Norwegians broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second half via a Solveig Gulbrandsen flicked header at the front post from a corner, but captain Steph Houghton got things back on level terms just six minutes later with a powerful headed goal from another corner.
With less than 15 minutes left to go, the stage was then set for the former Duchess’s Community High School pupil to fire in a superb strike from the edge of the area after good build-up play by England. The keeper got a hand to it, but had no real chance due to the power on the right-footed shot.
Norway are former European, World and Olympic champions, so the Lionesses will be feeling confident after coming from a goal down to beat a decent side, which finished second in their group on goal difference to the current European champions Germany.
Next up is a quarter-final against hosts Canada in the early hours of Sunday morning in Vancouver, kick-off 00.30am.
England opened their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against France, with the main talking point before kick-off being Bronze playing out of position on the left of a five-woman midfield.
The Manchester City defender started in a more familiar right-back role in the 2-1 win over Mexico, but limped off in the 84th minute. Manager Mark Sampson then made several changes and Bronze played no part in the 2-1 victory against Colombia which guaranteed a spot in the knockout phase.