Norway’s suddenly beleaguered women’s football team was cheered heading into the weekend when they finally won a match, and decisively at that. Their 4-1 victory over Northern Ireland was a good start in the qualifiers for the next World Cup.
It was almost expected that the Norwegian women would win, since Northern Ireland is ranked lowest in their qualifying group for the World Cup. Given all the trouble surrounding the team lately, after their string of losses in the European Championship qualifiers and star player Ada Hegerberg’s decision to withdraw from the national team, nothing was certain.
Now the other women players, many of whom have agreed with Hegerberg’s criticism of the national team’s leadership, want to move on. “We need to concentrate on those who are on the team (not Hegerberg),” captain Maren Mjelde told newspaper Aftenposten on Saturday. She preferred to talk about Guro Reiten, who scored two goals for Norway, and how the team will perform without Hegerberg.
“It means other players will get a chance,” Mjelde said. Next on their agenda is a qualifying match against Slovakia on Tuesday, followed by the Netherlands in October.