England reached their second World Cup quarter-final in succession as they easily saw off the challenge of Norway with a 3-0 win in Le Havre on Friday night.
Jill Scott opened the scoring for the Lionesses within two minutes before Ellen White doubled their lead, but it was a rocket from Lucy Bronze that rightly attracted the most attention.
The otherwise outstanding Nikita Parris missed a penalty late on – for the second time in the tournament – after Steph Houghton had been fouled in the box but it mattered little.
England came into the tie on the back of a similar 3-0 win over Cameroon in their last 16 game against Cameroon, a bad-tempered affair that attracted the wrong sort of headlines.
Norway, by contrast, played out a 120-minute classic against Australia in Nice, eventually advancing with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out win.
Fatigue may or may not have been to blame as the winners of Ireland’s qualifying group found themselves a goal behind just past the two-minute mark.
Player of the match Bronze showed a clean set of heels to makeshift full-back Kristine Minde before pulling the ball back from the endline for White.
Only the Manchester City striker will know whether her effort was a mishit or a clever dummy, but the ball fell perfectly for Scott to squeeze her shot in off the post.
It was the perfect start for Phil Neville’s fancied side, and a disaster for Norway who had yet to concede in the first half of any of their four games to date.
Norway grew into the game and the excellent Caroline Graham Hansen threatened with a series of inviting through-balls, but they couldn’t find a route to trouble Karen Bardsley.
Indeed, it was a miscontrolled backpass from Bardsley that presented Norway with their best chance of the first half-hour but, under pressure from Isabell Herlovsen, she just about cleared the ball.
England’s devastating counter-attacking ability has already been seen at this tournament and it almost told when Parris played in White, but her volley caught the outside of the far post.
She would have her goal via the same source four minutes before half time, however, as Bronze released Parris and she squared perfectly for an onside White to tap into the empty net.
The clincher arrived 12 minutes into the second half as Norway, who clearly hadn’t studied Alex Greenwood’s goal in the previous round, switched off from a set-piece.
Substitute Beth Mead feigned to cross before pulling back to Bronze at the edge of the area and, without a defender near her, she curled a beautiful shot into the roof of the net.
Lisa-Marie Utland could have pulled one back when she picked off Millie Bright’s poor backpass but, after rounding Bardsley, she had to check back and Houghton got back to clear off the line.
And Herlovsen should have scored when she muscled Houghton off the ball to latch onto a through-ball, but Bardsley stuck out a leg to pull off a top-class stop from the stretching striker.
Parris was handed an opportunity to make it 4-0 four minutes from time when Chelsea defender Maria Thorisdottir shoved Houghton, but Ingrid Hjelmseth saved well from 12 yards.
Norway: Ingrid Hjelmseth; Ingrid Moe Wold (Synne Skinnes Hansen 85), Maren Mjelde, Maria Thorisdottir, Kristine Minde; Karina Saevik (Lisa-Marie Utland 64), Vilde Boe Risa, Ingrid Syrstad Engen, Guro Reiten (Amalie Vevle Eikeland 74); Caroline Graham Hansen, Isbaell Herlovsen.
Subs not used: Oda Marie Hove Bogstad (gk), Cecilie Fiskerstrand (gk), Stine Hovland, Elise Thorsnes, Therese Asland, Frida Maanum, Cecilie Redisch Kvamme, Emilie Nautnes, Emilie Haavi.
Booked: Maria Thorisdottir (88).
England: Karen Bardsley; Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Millie Bright, Demi Stokes; Jill Scott, Fran Kirby (Georgia Stanaway 74), Ciara Walsh; Nikita Parris (Rachel Daly 88), Toni Duggan (Beth Mead 54), Ellen White.
Subs not used: Carly Telford (gk), Mary Earps (gk), Alex Greenwood, Abbie McManus, Jodie Taylor, Leah Williamson, Jade Moore, Karen Carney, Lucy Staniforth.
Referee: Lucila Venegas (Mexico).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Lucy Bronze (England).