If some felt England had been a disappointment in their opening game victory against Austriait would be fair to say that in their second clash, the Lionesses roared.
Their 8-0 demolition of Norway to Amex Stadium Monday did more than just extend the longest unbeaten streak in their history. He made a statement that England are ready to challenge for the Women’s Euro on their own ground.
With seven leads, England became the first team in Europe championship history – women or men – of scoring as many in a single game.
Sarina Wiegman has had an immediate impact with the Lionesses since taking charge in September, with the Dutch manager now having won 14 and drawn in his first 16 outings, scoring a remarkable 93 goals to concede just three .
There had already been big wins in the tournament which seemed to bode ill for the rest, with Spain and Germany scoring four in their opening matches while France became the first side to score five goals in the first. half of a match at the Women’s Euros when they beat Italy 5-1 on Sunday.
England broke that record a day later, with a ruthless display seeing them lead 6-0 at the break.
An anticipated penalty of Georgia Stanway after Ellen White had been shot took them forward, and from then on it seemed like every attack ended in the Norway report.
Lauren Hemp made two from close range despite being initially ruled offside, before a brace from Beth Mead and White gave the crowd away Brighton a whole first half to see.
It was the first Women’s Euro meeting between England and Norway, and it was one Gresshoppene boss Martin Sjogren will want to forget in a hurry.
The visitors stemmed the flow of goals in the second half, although their opponents appeared to take the opportunity to rest their legs.
Wiegman did just that by removing White, Rachel Daly and the impressive Frank Kirbywho recorded two assists before the hour mark.
England had another in the 65th minute, as Alessia Russowho replaced White, returned home a Lucia Bronze to cross.
Mead completed his hat trick with nine minutes remaining, tapping home after Gourō Pettersen knocked over a Kiera Walsh hitting just outside the box.
Mead, who scored the only goal of the match against Austria, has now been directly involved in 29 goals for England under Wiegman (18 goals, 11 assists), with Hemp nine behind after his goal and assist the led to 20 appearances (eight goals, 12 assists).
The crowd of 28,847 was in its element, with no hostility, no teasing, just support for their team and the familiar tune of “Three Lions” having more of a rambunctious broadcast.
It would be too easy to chalk this up to an energetic show, however, as they were in front of their own fans. England played exceptional football and won their fair share of goals.
They look like a completely different team under Wiegman and have dismantled a team just three places below them in the FIFA rankings, with 25 shots in all, hitting the target with an impressive 15.
Norway, ranked 11th in the world, looked like a deer caught in the headlights at times, but the pace and precision of passing and movement was on point with their tormentors throughout.
The Lionesses have already qualified for the quarter-finals as group winners and can afford to rest enough in their last Group A game against North Ireland before returning to Brighton on July 20 for the final eight clashes, likely to be against Germany or Spain.
England entered the tournament as one of the favourites, despite not having won it before. Their improvement under Wiegman coupled with the home field advantage means they are valued by many.
Of course, we have already been here with England. To flatter to deceive, to raise hopes to make them die out. We all know that England wait, often in vain.
It’s too early to say it looks any different, but tearing through a relatively strong opponent in this manner must impress even the most stubborn skeptic.
Their fans certainly believe it, anyway.