The 2015 Women’s World Cup kicked off on Sunday for Norway’s WNT, with their opponent being first time participants Thailand. Norway were such high favourites for this match, it was not even possible to bet on Norway as winners before the game. Needless to say, Norway went into the match expecting little or no opposission from the Thai women. Though Norway would eventually win comfortably, Thailand were surprisingly hard to break down, and seemed up to the task, at least for the first 15 minutes.
Norwegian WNT Cruise Against Energetic Thailand
At 15 minutes into the game, Norway captain and veteran midfielder Trine Ronning put the favourites 1-0 up. Thailand then seemed to lose the pace and energy showed in the beginning of the match. This may be down to the fact that the Norwegian women’s team may be physically more fit. Most of the Thai team are not professional football players, and have no chance of competing on the same physical level as Norway, where several players are full time footballers. After the first goal Norway took control of the match, and were easily up 3-0 at half time.
After the break, Norway’s biggest star and profile, Ada Stolsmo Hegerberg, ended Norway’s scoring outburst at 4-0 after 68 minutes. Hegerberg plays for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, Olympique Lyonnais. She is expected to challenge for the Golden Boot at this World Cup. Norway’s Maren Mjelde had the chance to make it 5-0, but she missed her penalty in the dying moments of the match.
All in all, the scoreline was no surprise in the end. It was expected it would be even higher, with the knowledge of the Thai women’s team before the match at an absolute minimal. Still, the Thai women showed some quality at the start of the match. They may well be able to beat another unknown national team in the Ivory Coast, also in group B. Ivory Coast were later that same evening beat 10-0 by Germany, though yt must be said that Germany are one of the favourites to win the entire tournament.
The big test for Norway will without a doubt come against title favourites Germany on June 11. If Norway are able to bring something out of that match, the road is certainly open for the team go all the way. Norway’s chances in the tournament are seen as slim, but reaching the quarter-finals should be within reach. Anything more than that would be a massive bonus for the previous world champions, who won the competition in 1995.
As stated before, much of Norway’s chance of success is reliant on striker Ada Stolsmo Hegerberg’s contributions. Hegerberg is a very skilled player, and if she hits top form during the championship, she will be hard to stop. Also, the interest for womens football is rapidly growing in Norway after several players have earned top contracts at top European clubs for the last couple of years. If the national team were to exceed expectations during this World Cup, women’s football will probably increase rapidly in popularity, as the men’s national team show mostly average tendencies.