Norway Women Struggle, But Ready To Face England

After a solid but unconvincing win against Ivory Coast, Norway will now face England’s finest ladies in the World Cup round of 16. The Norwegians will be quite happy to face the English in this match, as the draw could have seen them face France at this stage. France are ranked much higher than England, so the draw is a better outcome for Norway.

Norway Women Struggle, But Ready To Face England

In the last match of the group stages, Norway faced Ivory Coast. The Africans had 0 points, and an unflattering -11 goal difference. That difference was mostly due to the 10-0 drubbing at the hands of Germany in their first match. Needless to say, Norway were firm favourites and expected to win with ease. The match itself would not be as easy for the Norwegians.

The Norwegian coach, Even Pellerud, made several changes to the first team before this match most probably to rotate the squad, in order to keep several players match fit. This again gave Norway a few difficulties, as some players were playing out of position. This seemed to disrupt the team, and play was not flowing as it should have. Anyway, things seemed to go after plan with Norway 1-0 up after only five minutes. However, Norway would not be able to score again in the first half. There were not a lot of chances created either, as Norway struggled to control the match.

With just about an hour played, Norway would get their second goal, and shortly after the score was 3-0. Now, the match started to look more like a drubbing and pundits were starting to speculate as to how many goals Norway would be able to score. Ivory Coast were not broken by the quick succession of goals conceded. Instead, Ivory Coast started to look more threatening on the ball.

Three minutes after Norway’s third, Ange G’uessan hit a perfect shot from 25 yards which went over the goalkeeper, Ingrid Hjelmseth. Ivory Coast brought the score back to 3-1 and were looking increasingly stronger. The rest of the match was influenced by the Ivorians’ energy, and the Norwegians’ increasing frustration in not being able to control the match. There would be no more goals though. Norway got the win, but there was still a sense of disappointment. Norway should have cruised through this match, but were unable to impress.

The question is, what kind of significance this match will have on the Norwegian team in the next stage of the World Cup? What kind of impact will struggling against a weaker side make when facing a much tougher team?

Norway did not want to face France in the first knockout stage, and results in other matches went their way so that they would be avoided. However, Norway were more impressive playing against Germany in a 1-1 draw than they were beating Ivory Coast 3-1. England seem to have a chance of beating Norway. At least, a better chance than first thought.

Norway will once again have to rely on the goalscoring abilities of Ada Stolsmo Hegerberg, who scored two goals in the victory against Ivory Coast. Also, captain Trine Ronning may be back from injury for the match against England. England, on the other hand, will have to rely on Fran Kirby.

For Norway, beating England will not only send them to the quarter-finals, but may also secure a spot in the coming Olympics staged in Rio 2016. This will definitely have an impact on the match. The pressure is on Norway, as England are not expected to win.