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Monday, February 26, 2024

Norway prepares to beat England

Norway’s women’s national football team lived up to their motto of being “stronger together” once again over the weekend. After making it into the quarter-finals at the World Cup in France, they’re now preparing to face England, motivated by revenge.

Caroline Graham Hansen (left) was among the Norwegian women scoring a total of five goals against Australia during the weekend, while goal keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth did a brilliant holding off Australian players. Hjelmseth even changed her football shoes before the final penalty kick competition, and thinks it helped her fend off two of three Australian attempts. PHOTO: Norges Fotball Forbund

“We have talked about revenge already,” player Ingrid Syrstad Engen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after Norway advanced to the quarter finals by beating Australia in a lengthy thriller Saturday night. Norway, NRK noted, lost to England at the World Cup in 2015 by a score of 2-1, and the Norwegian women haven’t forgotten least for us who were there int 2015. We felt we had control over that match, and then we lost it at the end.” NRK noted that those playing against England four years ago included, in addition to Mjelde and Hjelmseth, Maria Thorisdatter, Isabell Herlovsen, Kristie Minde, Lisa-Marie Utland, Elise Thorsnes, Ingrid Moe Wold and Cecilie Fiskerstrand.

They didn’t lose at the end on Saturday, but it was a thrilling close one. Norway scored first in what became a marathon match that ended in a 1-1 tie, prompting a penalty kick battle that Norway ultimately won. Caroline Graham Hansen, who had returned from injury in the preceding match against South Korea, led off successfully and the Norwegian players scored all four of their attempts, while Australia missed two and scored just one.

It was a football drama in which coach Martin Sjögren won kudos from the weary women for a pep talk just before the penalty kick round began. “He took all the pressure off us,” Graham Hansen told NRK. “He said that it didn’t really matter how we did, because he was super proud of us regardless, and vipps, all the pressure was gone.” She could then close her eyes to concentrate when it was her time on the line, then open them to aim, and score.

Sjögren was indeed proud of all the women on his team. “We win and lose together,” he told NRK. “Regardless of the outcome, they all did a fantastic job.”

They thus lived up to their motto of Sterkere sammen (Stronger together) and intend to stay that way when they face England in Le Havre on Thursday night. It can’t hurt that Le Havre is in the heart of Normandy, given the victories that Vikings from Norway had there centuries ago. Berglund



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