England V. Norway To Decide World Cup Quarterfinalist
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England V. Norway To Decide World Cup Quarterfinalist

England’s women’s football team competes in their first knockout match of the 2015 Women’s World Cup later today.  The Three Lionesses face off against former World Cup champions Norway in the last 16 to decide which team will advance to the quarterfinal round.

Mark Sampson, one of the youngest coaches in the tournament, will face off against Even Pellerud, one of the veterans of the event who was the man in charge when Norway claimed the 1995 World Cup trophy.  Does age trump youth or will innovation upset experience?

England dodged a bullet by qualifying in the brackets opposite Germany, the number one bet to win the tournament.  Germany beat England 3-0 in a friendly last fall, temporarily shaking the confidence of Sampson and his team.  But the two sides will not meet in Canada unless both qualify for the championship game.

On the flip side, Norway drew a 1-1 final against Germany earlier in the tournament, finishing second in their group solely because of goal differential – Germany scored 15 goals in three games as opposed to Norway’s 8.

However, Norway’s 8 goals are an impressive tally compared to England’s 4.  Karen Carney and Fran Kirby scored the team’s first goals of the tournament against Mexico, while Fara Williams connected for her first against Colombia.  Carney connected for her second goal in the third game.

Captain Steph Houghton has yet to connect but both she and Sampson are betting the goal drought will end against Norway tonight.  Striker Eniola Aluko, who scored England’s only goal when these two teams met in the fall, also bets she can score her first World Cup goal tonight.

Kickoff is at 10pm BST and the winner of tonight’s round will face the hosts, Canada on Saturday.  Can England thrive to bring home the first Women’s World Cup, and first World Cup trophy since 1966?

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