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  1. ITV Report

Relaxed England ready for Women's World Cup quarter-final against Norway

In football "being on the beach" is a negative, a concept which means a team has given up but England hope their relaxation at Deauville will do them the world of good against Norway.

It was at this stage four years ago when many thought England had reached their limit as they prepared to face hosts Canada in a quarter-final.

Against the odds, the Lionesses beat Canada 2-1 thanks to goals from Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze to progress to the semi-finals.

In Le Havre on Thursday night, the pressure will be on England to defeat Norway, coming into the game as overwhelming favourites.

Lucy Bronze, right, celebrates scoring against Canada in 2015. Credit: PA

Phil Neville's side are yet to find their best form in France despite winning every game so far but having come through the battle against Cameroon, the England players are feeling more at home.

"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," Neville explained before the match.

"And we ask them to have fun, we ask them to play the way that we want to play, and we keep it really relaxed."

Many of those who saw off Canada in 2015 will be available to Neville against Norway, including the two goalscorers, and he will be hoping such experience will help England to progress once again.

The squad were treated to a session on the beach on Wednesday, which hopefully had the desired impact on those looking for tranquility amid the intensity of a World Cup campaign.

There are, however, some concerns for Neville and England, who could be without their first-choice centre-back pairing. Captain Steph Houghton is struggling with ankle problem suffered in the closing stages of the victory over Cameroon, while Millie Bright is laid low with a virus.

Phil Neville, left, could be without captain Steph Houghton. Credit: PA

Manchester City defender Houghton has been inspirational for club and country in recent years and would be sorely missed in such a crucial match but Neville has full confidence in the replacements.

"I'd put my life on Leah Williamson and Abbie McManus if they are called upon to be the best two players on the pitch."

Norway have their own major absentee, as Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg has not played for her country since 2017 in a protest against the inequality between the men's and women's team.

The Scandinavians have looked solid at the back and efficient in front of goal throughout the tournament but England will be confident of breaking them down.

Now it is all just a question of how England handle the pressure and if they can take the beach mentality to the pitch.