‘We’ve never had more belief’ – England set for Norway quarter-final

Phil Neville’s Lionesses will aim to be the first England team to reach a third successive major tournament semi-final when they face Norway in the Women’s World Cup last eight on Thursday.

England made the last four at the 2015 World Cup and Euro 2017, with 20,000 fans set for the north coast city of Le Havre amid a French heatwave.

Head coach Neville played down the heat but said first-choice centre-backs Steph Houghton and Mille Bright are both “doubts” against a team beat 2-1 at the 2015 World Cup.

Norway are ranked 12th in the world, nine places below England, and are without striker Ada Hegerberg, who has chosen not to represent her country despite being voted as the world’s best player.

The Lyon striker, 23, has not played for Norway since 2017 after raising concerns over the sport’s governance in her home country.

Adding to the significance of the match is potential qualification for the 2020 Olympics. Neville’s side must beat the 1995 World Cup winners if they want a Great Britain team to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Only the top three European nations qualify from the World Cup, but with seven of the eight quarter-finalists from Europe, England might need to repeat their third-placed finish in 2015 to seal a place in Japan.

While temperatures in parts of France are set to reach upwards of 40C, the temperature in Le Havre is forecast to be 24C for the 20:00 BST kick-off, with the game live across the BBC.

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