England boss Sarina Wiegman hailed her players’ efforts on an “incredible evening” after they secured their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2022 with a record-breaking 8-0 hammering of Norway at the Amex Stadium.
The tournament hosts scored six times in a rampant first-half display, with Georgia Stanway’s 12th-minute penalty and a finish from Lauren Hemp three minutes later being followed by a brace apiece from Ellen White and Beth Mead.
That equalled the most amount of goals scored by one team in a Women’s Euros match, and England went on to register the competition’s biggest ever victory, surpassing their 6-0 win over Scotland in 2017, following a 66th-minute effort from substitute Alessia Russo and Mead completing her hat-trick late on.
Asked to describe her side’s display, Wiegman said: “Just a great performance.
“We kept just playing the game, also in the second half, and sometimes when you are 6-0 up players try to do different things, but we didn’t – we kept playing together and doing our task.
“An incredible evening, very nice – (but) stay grounded, because we don’t have anything yet.”
With the remarkable win in front of a crowd of 28,847 – from which cries of “football’s coming home” rang out at various stages – seeing them seal top spot in Group A, the Lionesses will be returning to Brighton a week on Wednesday to play a quarter-final against the runners-up in Group B, which features Germany and Spain.
Their group fixtures conclude with Friday’s meeting at St Mary’s with now-eliminated Northern Ireland, who had lost 2-0 to Austria earlier on Monday.
England had opened their campaign with last Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford, with a competition-record attendance of just under 69,000.
And when it was put to Wiegman that if people did not know there was a Women’s Euros on, they did now, she said: “I don’t know, I think they already knew last Wednesday, because that was nice too.
“I just hope they enjoy, and that is what we hope to do – make the nation proud.
“We’ve had two games now, we’re trying to play our best game, and today we did. But it’s just three points – if you win 1-0 or 8-0, it doesn’t make a difference – we didn’t win anything yet.”
While Norway boss Martin Sjogren had said pre-match that his team were “definitely” underdogs heading into the game, how things played out was some shock to the system for the side ranked three places below England at 11th in the world, who were 4-1 victors over Northern Ireland in their opener at St Mary’s last Thursday.
Sjogren said when asked for his feelings post-match: “It’s not easy to put into words.
“Of course everyone felt devastated about the way we looked tonight. I really, really feel terrible for the players’ sake, to be out there and to be beaten by England 8-0 in a game we had been looking forward to for quite some time.
“We had a good feeling before the game, we thought we had a good plan, and I thought we played well the first 10 minutes, but then after that, the last 80 minutes was more or less horrible to be honest.”