Click-clack, click-clack … the players are in the tunnel. And then they emerge to a raucous welcome.
The Amex is filling up very nicely ahead of kick-off, though there are a fair few bare patches. Train delays are apparently the cause.
Some pre-match emails: “Reporting live here from Brighton where a very youthful crowd (courtesy of school and club groups) has been issued, to a man, with a foldy card clapper thing,” writes Elliot Carr-Barnsley. “Come back vuvuzelas, please. It might be a little ott but it’s possible that people have been sent to the Hague for lesser crimes. Also, old man yells at cloud.”
And here’s Robin Burchfield: “Hi John, I thought you may wish to know that it’s flying ant day here in Brighton. The seagulls get a bit drunk from eating them, which makes their behaviour even more lairy than usual.”
A ton of pre-match reading (and listening) for you
Leah Williamson is bringing the indie disco bangers to the England dressing room:
Well, the Countdown to kick-off is on. Sjogren reckons England have got The Fear but, Joking Aside, I Spy an opportunity for them to seal progression to the quarter-finals with a performance full of Razzmatazz.
England (probable 4-2-3-1): Earps; Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly; Walsh, Stanway; Mead, Kirby, Hemp; White.
Norway (probable 4-2-3-1): Pettersen; T Hansen, Mjelde (c), Thorisdottir, Blakstad; Boe Risea, Engen; Sævik, Graham Hansen, Reiten; Hegerberg.
So England are unchanged, while Norway make three changes with Sonstevold, Maanum and Eikeland dropping out and Tuva Hansen coming in at right-back, Vilde Bøe Risa into defensive midfield and and Karina Sævik likely wide on the right.
Northern Ireland have been beaten 2-0 by Austria over in Southampton, a result which keeps the Austrians in the hunt but more or less ends Northern Ireland’s hopes of an unlikely progression from the group.
Hello all and welcome to what seems to be, to all intents and purposes, the Group A decider between England and Norway.
As we put it in the Fiver earlier:
The glorious winners will almost certainly top the group and go on to face the runners-up from Group B, either the ludicrously dominant Germany or the ridiculously impressive Spain. The dismal losers, meanwhile, will almost certainly finish second in the group and go on to face the winners of Group B, either the ludicrously dominant Spain or the ridiculously impressive Germany.
But despite that there’s probably something to be said for tournament momentum. The four nations to have won the women’s Euros as hosts, did they top their group? You better believe it, buster.
Indeed to find the last Euros host not to top their group you have to go all the way back to 2005 and … um … England, who crashed out early after finishing bottom. That’s not on the cards this time around, though, and you could argue that this tie is a bigger one for Norway, given they face an actually-pretty-decent Austria in their final group game.