England romp 5-0 over N. Ireland; Austria top Norway to advance

Sports Desk, Jul 15 (EFE).- England battered Northern Ireland 5-0 Friday to complete the group stage of Women’s Euro 2022 with 9 from 9 possible points, while surprising Austria held Norway 1-0 to secure the other quarterfinal berth from Group A.

Austria’s reward is a match against Group B winners Germany. The Lionesses will face Spain or Denmark, who square off Saturday to decide second place in B.

Though the host nation had already clinched first in the group and Northern Ireland were out of contention, nearly 31,000 people turned out for the contest at St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton.

And while the England supporters had a lot more to cheer about, the contingent of Northern Irish fans drew some satisfaction from seeing their side keep a clean sheet for the first 40 minutes.

Even so, the Lionesses led 2-0 at the break on goals by Fran Kirby and Beth Mead, who extended her tournament-leading total to five.

Alessia Russo, England’s super sub, came on at the start of a second half and scored twice in the space of five minutes to make it 4-0 before the hour mark.

Northern Ireland defender Kelsie Burrows inadvertently put the ball in her own net while trying to clear in the 76th minute and was charged with an own goal.

In nearby Brighton, two-time champions Norway saw their hopes of another title crushed by Austria, playing in the competition for only the second time.

Despite conceding 60 percent possession, the Austrians put eight shots on target to just two for Norway and Nicole Billa’s goal in the 37th minute proved sufficient for the Central European side.

Norway’s only victory of the tournament was against Northern Ireland and they endured an 8-0 thrashing by England in their second match. EFE msg/dr

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