Norway’s national women’s football team was jubilant after beating Iceland Wednesday night on home turf in Oslo, and earning a spot in the European championships once again. The tournament will take place in Sweden next summer.
The Norwegian women did a lot better than their male counterparts, who lost badly to Iceland earlier this month in their own bid for next World Cup. The women scored what commentators called “two beautiful goals” just before the break, with the honors going first to Solveig Gulbrandsen who made a “precise” free kick that Maren Mjelde headed in. Then Mjelde conducted the preliminaries that led to Elise Thorsnes slamming the ball into the opposing goal.
Then the squad managed to mostly hold Iceland off through the second half, although Iceland scored once and created new tension. Norway wound up as winner of its group and thus secured a place in the European championships that will run from July 10-28 next year. Other nations that have qualified so far include Sweden, Italy, Germany, Finland, France, Denmark, England and The Netherlands.
“This is just wonderful and we’re feeling only joy right now,” coach Eli Landsem told the website for the national football association fotball.no (external link, in Norwegian). “It’s getting tougher and tougher to qualify for championship play. Now we can avoid play-offs and start our preparations early.”