England’s women laid down an early marker at Euro 2022 with a stunning 8-0 hammering of Norway to book their place in the knockout stages.
After a tense and lackluster 1-0 win over Austria in the opening game of the tournament, the shackles were off on Matchday two as England became the first team in Euros history – men or women – to score seven or more goals in a game.
The team beat the previous record which it had set at Euro 2017 with a 6-0 win over Scotland.
In the build-up to the game, Norway head coach Martin Sjögren tried his best to get inside the heads of those in the England camp by insisting that the Lionesses “feel quite a lot of pressure from being at home, being one of the favorites.”
Clearly, he could not have been more wrong.
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England was 6-0 up before half-time thanks to goals from Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp and braces from Ellen White and Beth Mead, before Alessia Russo’s header and Mead’s third goal sealed the eye-catching win in the second half.
What makes this result all the more astonishing is that Norway was among the pre-tournament favorites to go deep at Euro 2022 and boasts a number of top-class talents, notably the attacking trio of 2019 Ballon d’Or Fémenin winner Ada Hegerberg, Chelsea star Guro Reiten and Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen.
“I just can’t put it into words,” Mead told the BBC. “I don’t think I even dreamed of this. I’m just so happy I got the goals to help the team. I’m just loving being here, loving being part of this team and loving every minute.
“It’s an incredible feeling to feel how I do right now. The girls need to enjoy this one. These are the moments we need to enjoy.”
After more than 68,000 fans watched the team in its opener again Austria, 28,847 came to see England hammer Norway and created an atmosphere that striker White called “absolutely insane.”
“We’re so thankful for that support,” she added. “Hopefully, we can continue to grow as a team, but I hope everyone’s proud of us.”
England head coach Sarina Wiegman, who maintains her unbeaten record in charge of the Lionesses, described it as a “special night” but admitted even they didn’t see this sort of win coming.
“We really exploited their weaknesses and we’re really happy, but at the same time, it’s just one game,” she told the BBC. “We’ll enjoy the moment, but we’ll stay really grounded. ‘What’s going on here?’ – that was going through my mind.
“Norway didn’t have the answers. We created chances, scored goals and it was very enjoyable to watch. We really showed our qualities.
“The fans have been really nice again, almost 30,000 of them. We just need to enjoy that moment, relax a little bit then start preparing for the next game.”