England on course to inspire a nation, says Houghton

Wednesday 24 Jun 2015
Steph Houghton celebrates her equaliser against Norway

England Women are still on course to inspire a nation, said Steph Houghton.

The Lionesses captain led her side to a 2-1 victory over Norway in the last-16 of the World Cup.

Houghton equalised Solveig Gulbrandsen’s opener and Lucy Bronze hit a stunning winner with just under 15 minutes remaining to book England a quarter final tie against host nation Canada.

England 2-1 Norway

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
Second Round
Monday 22 June
Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa

Houghton said: "As a squad we know how many sacrifices we have made to get into this position.

"We said at the start of the tournament we wanted to inspire a nation, we want to inspire young girls to play football.

"Credit to everybody involved. We showed a lot of character, we showed a lot of passion to wear the England shirt."

Norway dominated the first half but were unable to find a way past England goalkeeper, and player of the match, Karen Bardsley.

The Scandinavians deservedly took the lead nine minutes into the second half before Houghton levelled just after the hour mark.

The goal was a shot in the arm for Mark Sampson’s charges and they finished the match in the ascendency, culminating in Bronze’s champagne moment.

Houghton said of her equaliser: "We needed it. We needed a bit of a confidence boost.

"As soon as it went in, you saw a totally different England side. We really got a hold of the game, especially the last half-hour.


England celebrate Lucy Bronze's winner

"I thought we were tremendous in terms of frustrating Norway, controlling the rhythm and tempo and seeing the game out.

"It's credit to every single member of the squad because we showed great character over the 90 minutes.

"We know how determined we are to stay in [the World Cup] for the long haul."

The win over Norway represents England’s first ever success in the knockout stages of the World Cup at the fourth attempt.

They will now take on John Herdman’s Canada in Vancouver on Saturday.

And Houghton is relishing the last-eight tie that will be played at the 54,000-seater BC Place Stadium.

The 27-year-old added: "It's what dreams are made of. Now we have got to take care of ourselves, recover properly, and make sure we go and do the business.

"We know it's going to be tough but we are really excited.

"Canada will have all the fans but we have already showed we have got the players to step up and hopefully they will do it again on Saturday."

By Glenn Lavery in Ottawa, Canada