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England beats Norway to reach World Cup semis

LE HAVRE, France (AP) — Lucy Bronze helped set up the first two goals before completing England’s 3-0 victory over Norway with a powerful shot of her own Thursday night, sending the team into its second straight Women’s World Cup semifinal.

After finishing third at the last tournament four years ago, England will now face either France or the United States on Tuesday in its quest for a first women’s final.

“Their two scouts were sitting literally behind the bench,” England coach Phil Neville said. “So I waved at them after the goals.”

The first came after only two minutes and nine seconds in front of a crowd of more than 21,000. Bronze muscled her way down the right flank before cutting the ball back. Ellen White missed a shot but Jill Scott was primed to strike in off the post.

White did get her fifth goal of the tournament in the 40th minute. Played in by Bronze, Nikita Parris spotted White racing between the Norway center backs to receive the pass and sweep into the net.

It was a clever routine that led to the third in the 57th minute. With England preparing to take a free kick on the left flank, Norway was expecting it to be swung into the penalty area. But Beth Mead spotted Bronze arriving at the edge of the penalty area unmarked and the right back connected first-time and raised it high into the roof of the net with a fierce shot.

“What you have seen tonight is that Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world,” Neville said. “There is no player like her in the world, no player who has her athleticism and quality. I played full back but never to that level she played at.”