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Women's World Cup: Arsenal star Mead ready for Norway as Williamson eyes first start

PUBLISHED: 10:02 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:02 26 June 2019

England's Lucy Staniforth (left), Beth Mead and Jill Scott celebrate after the final whistle during the FIFA Women's World Cup, round of Sixteen match at Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

England's Lucy Staniforth (left), Beth Mead and Jill Scott celebrate after the final whistle during the FIFA Women's World Cup, round of Sixteen match at Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal Women's star Beth Mead believes England are in for a tough test when they face Norway in the Women's World Cup quarter-final on Thursday.

England's Leah Williamson (left) and team-mates Millie Bright celebrate after the final whistle during the FIFA Women's World Cup, round of Sixteen match at Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes. Picture: Richard Sellers/PAEngland's Leah Williamson (left) and team-mates Millie Bright celebrate after the final whistle during the FIFA Women's World Cup, round of Sixteen match at Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

The Lionesses beat Cameroon 3-0 in the last-16 thanks to goals from Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood - although the game was marred by their opponents refusal to play after VAR decisions went against them.

Mead was an unused subsititute in the game after losing her place to Toni Duggan, despite impressing in the group stages, while Arsenal teammate Leah Williamson made her World Cup debut as a late substitute.

Barcelona forward Duggan - who missed the tournament's early games through injury - is a favourite of coach Phil Neville, meaning Mead could be named on the bench against Norway.

But, Williamson will be eyeing a starting XI spot, with captain Houghton unlikely to feature after being injured by a late tackle from Alexandra Engolo in the closing stage against Cameroon.

As for their opponents on Thursday, they made it to the quarter-final stage after beating Australia on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

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They made it out of a difficult group as well, beating Nigeria and South Korea before losing to host nation France to finish second in Group A.

Mead is aware that Norway will be difficult opponents, telling the Lionesses official Twitter account: "They are going to be a tough test.

"We know they're a really good team and we watched them the other night.

"They've gone right to the end of a 120-minute game.

"How composed in front of goal the penalties they took were was impressive, so we know it's a team we're not going to take lightly.

"We're recovering and putting ourselves in the best shape to play the best possible game we can against them, so we're looking forward to it, but we know it's going to be a tough test."

The two nations met at the round of 16 stage in the 2015 Women's World Cup, and Norway took the lead in the game with an hour gone through Solveig Gulbrandsen, but goals from Houghton and Lucy Bronze sent England through.

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