Impressive England stride into the semis

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Ellen White (R) of England vies with Maria Thorisdottir of Norway during the quarterfinal between England and Norway at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in Le Havre, France, on June 27, 2019. England won 3-0. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)

England swept aside Norway 3-0 with ease on Thursday with records falling down to book their place in the FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals.

Jill Scott, whose close-range shot took a favorable bounce off the post and into the net, broke the deadlock for the Lionesses just three minutes into the game, which is among the fastest score in this tournament so far.

Ellen White slotted the ball home to add another for England before half time, giving her fifth goals in this World Cup to top the scorers' standings alongside with Alex Morgan of the United States and Australia's Sam Kerr.

Then Lucy Bronze's second-half thunderbolt from the edge of the area in the 57th minute sealed the victory, leaving Norway keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth little chance to stop it with a powerful long drive.

Phil Neville's side had a chance to score from the penalty spot at 80 when Steph Houghton was fouled and injured in the box, but Hjelmseth dived to stop Nikita Parris' shot.

The former captain and star defender of Manchester United sang high praise of Bronze, rating her "the best player in the world".

"We've having the time of our lives. We're just where we want to be," he said. "I think what you've seen tonight is that Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world. There's no player like her."

"I'm very lucky (to coach her). I played full-back, but never to the level that she does," added the 44-year-old.

With the 3-0 rout, England equaled their best record in the global quadrennial event, reaching the competition's final four for the second time in a row.

The Lionesses will face either hosts France or defending champions United States in the semifinals with the two clashing with each others in Paris on Friday evening.

"We're not bothered who we play (in the semifinals). We want to play both of them (USA or France)," said Neville, who took in charge of England as his first coaching job in women's soccer early last year.

"My players have proven tonight the bigger the occasion, the better they are," he added, looking forward to the future encounters in Lyon.

Norway coach Martin Sjogren, on the other hand, gave the thumbs up for the spirit of his players.

"I would like to state that we still saw our players fight 'till the end, even though it looked hopeless. Even if the game at the end of course was gone, we still fought," he said. 

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