England's Houghton and Bright injury doubts for Norway clash

Friday, 28 Jun, 2019

Phil Neville has heaped praise on to England right-back Lucy Bronze after her player-of-the-match display against Norway in the Women's World Cup quarter-final.

Captain Houghton was on the receiving end of a tough challenge during the closing stages of the 3-0 victory over Cameroon in the last 16, while Bright is suffering from a virus.

"Both are major doubts", he said of Houghton and Bright.

"Steph because of the tackle, we are hoping she takes part in some training. that is the key for Steph".

Every other member of Neville's 23-player squad trained.

Abbie McManus and Leah Williamson are the potential replacements, and Neville has stressed the confidence he has in the pair.

The 42-year-old, who was appointed to the job 18 months ago, said: "We have put a lot of pressure on ourselves from day one, and we did that for moments like (now), so they are used to the pressure and expectation".

"You plan for these moments".

"There has been a plan behind it and it's for moments like this, where I am totally relaxed. I played full-back but never to that level she played at".

"Maybe it's an English mentality, but not this group of players", Neville told BBC Sport.

The two made amends five minutes before the break, though, as Parris squared for White - compared by Neville to Alan Shearer and Michael Owen - to tap into the net.

"She's turning from a hard-working, grafting player into the predator". "It's the bigger games that my players like".

England were devastating on their right flank with the outstanding Bronze and the pacey Nikita Parris, who missed a late penalty, tormenting their opponents as Norway struggled to cope with the swift movement and intelligent use of the ball.

"I said to them in the huddle, 'Are you ready to win a World Cup?"' Neville said. "They have probably been the surprise team of the tournament because people have been focusing on the top 10 teams in the world", he said, with the Norwegians now ranked 12th.

"We've seen tonight Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world, without a shadow of a doubt - with her athleticism and quality", said Neville. England manager Phil Neville has previously used her in midfield, and don't rule out him trying this again if they come up against the U.S.in the semifinals as it worked well in their SheBelieves Cup match, but they thrive off her crossing and energy down that right-hand side.

He added: "We are a team who have lost in the semi-finals at the last two major tournaments".

- Norway has been eliminated from the Women's World Cup by England in consecutive tournaments (also 2015 last 16); England is the second nation to knock them out of more than one edition of the competition (also U.S., 1991 and 2003).

"Yesterday, I knew we were going to win this game because of the look in their eyes and the 11 that didn't play were driving it".