Caroline Graham Hansen scored the first of two winning goals for Norway’s women’s national football team at the World Cup in France Monday night, only to injure her ankle after a collision with a South Korean opponent. Now she, the rest of the team and thousands of Norwegian fans are hoping for a quick recovery.
“It’s actually not so painful,” Hansen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after the match against South Korea that Norway won by a score of 2-1. “The problem is just that I can’t walk.”
That’s a problem indeed, not least since Monday night’s latest World Cup victory for the Norwegian women means they’ve advanced to the next round and will be playing again on Saturday night. Hansen was on crutches when she met reporters after having to be helped off the field.
She was optimistic, after the team’s medical staff had some optimistic preliminary exam results for her. “They think everything is intact, so we just have to take some pictures (X-rays) and see what if anything won’t function,” Hansen said. “They were very positive, so we’ll take it from there.”
Asked whether she was worried that she won’t be able to play in the next round, the 24-year-old who was just signed to play professionally for FC Barcelona said she was “just relieved and glad that we’re advancing.”
Head coach Martin Sjögren told NRK he couldn’t add much until the medical team could say more. Football commentator Morten Morisbak Skjønsberg said a combination of “ice, compression and good treatment” can make it possible to tape up Hansen’s ankle, if nothing has been torn.
“She’s the star of the team, and it means a lot for the team’s morale if she can play well again,” Skjønsberg said. “She’s also a player with a lot of great qualities.”
Hansen had actually been called upon to deliver a penalty kick granted shortly after the match got off to a rough start and Maria Thorisdatter was knocked down. Then Hansen herself was the target of a collision, leaving Isabel Herlovsen to nail a second penalty kick.
The Norwegian women ended second in their initial group at the World Cup that has included host country France, South Korea and Nigeria. France and Norway thus move on, with Norway due to meet either Brazil, Italy or Australia on Saturday night.