As England’s Lionesses get ready to face Norway in the quarter-final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, we look at what the data tells us about this historic match-up based on both teams’ four matches so far.
At MicroStrategy, we’ve been building a dossier on statistics from the FIFA Women’s World Cup based on data provided by Opta. My goal is to delve into that data to see how England and Norway square up ahead of their quarter-final clash on Thursday, 27 June. Can we even predict an outcome?
Norway comes into the match having played 30 minutes extra following a tense extra time second round match with Australia. While the Norwegians will feel confident after winning their penalty shoot-out without missing a single spot kick, how do they match up in each department?
Defense: Lionesses Defend the Den
England goes into this game having conceded just one goal, which came late in the opening game against Scotland. That’s 281 minutes—plus injury time—without being breached. The Lionesses will be looking to skipper Steph Houghton to create play from the back, if she’s fit. At the time of writing, Houghton is the third-highest pass-maker at the tournament (283) with 87% accuracy rate. Fellow defender, Lucy Bronze, is the fourth-highest pass-maker with 270 passes (81% accuracy).
Norway has conceded four goals and haven’t kept a clean sheet since their first match.
Midfield: Experience Will Count
Norway’s Kristine Minde will be key to breaking up England’s play. Minde makes an average of 3.3 tackles per game and has picked up a yellow card this tournament. Manchester City stalwart Jill Scott will be key for England, making 3.5 tackles on average per game. Scott has made nearly 200 passes during the tournament and is due a goal. She hasn’t scored from her seven efforts at goal this tournament and, with 22 goals in a record 135 caps, scores on average every 6.13 matches.
Norway’s goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth will have to watch her corners—England have enjoyed success from shooting low in this tournament.
Attack: Both Teams are Deadly in Front of Goal
Both teams have scored in each of their four games so far. England has hit the target on 23 of their 52 shots, scoring eight goals in the process. Norway, by contrast, has created 49 chances with 15 shots on target, resulting in seven goals after playing 30 minutes more. England is therefore narrowly more creative and will be looking to four-goal Ellen White to add to her haul. While White has bagged four in ten attempts, Norway’s Isabell Herlovsen is narrowly more clinical in front of goal, scoring two from her four chances.
England will have to watch the runs of Caroline Hansen, who has made 22 dribbles this tournament, although Norway’s No. 10 has only scored once from her 14 attempts at goal. Likewise, Norway will be wary of England’s wing pairing of Nikita Parris, who has 11 dribbles and a goal to her name, and Toni Duggan, who has two assists.
England is more clinical in front of goal than Norway, although no team is quite as clinical as the United States.
Can we make any concrete predictions on the basis of what we’ve seen? It looks like an evenly matched game, but England tends to enjoy more possession—64% in the group stage compared to Norway’s 51%—so Norway may have to rely on the counterattack.
If both teams keep up their record of having scored in every game so far, then we could be in for a treat!
The dossier is updated in new real-time, so please take a look and explore the FIFA Women’s World Cup player data for yourself.