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Norway Women Qualify for World Cup

Football goal in Norway

A 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in Oslo secured Norway's women a place in the World Cup for the eighth consecutive tournament.

The national team take their place at the 2019 tournament, which will be held in France from 7 June to 7 July.

One of 8 European qualifiers

Norway join fellow UEFA nations Scotland, Germany, Sweden, France, England, Italy and Spain in the tournament. Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium will play off for the final European place.

From elsewhere in the world, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand have qualified, with a further eight places still to be filled.

Norway's women football team score against the Netherlands
Celebrations after the opening goal

Norway will find out their opponents once the full roster of 24 teams is finalised and when the draw is made in December.

“It’s so nice. We've been working so hard and it's been tough. It means a lot. Many have questioned the status of Norwegian football, but we’ve proven that we are ready for another World Cup”, said Martin Sjögren, the national team manager to NRK after the final whistle.

A dramatic start in Oslo

Any nerves among the more than 5,000 fans in attendance at Oslo’s Intility Arena were quickly settled as Norway raced into a two-goal lead inside six minutes.

Kristine Minde’s industrious work won an early corner. From that corner, Maren Mjelde hooked the ball back across goal and Ingrid Syrstad Engen fired it home.

The dream start got even better just  moments later and the hosts doubled their lead when Isabell Herlovsen's physical presence won the ball from a Dutch defender, leaving her with a sight of goal. She let the ball bounce one, and hooked the ball past the keeper and in off the post.

“The goal meant a lot for my confidence after all the chances I had against Slovakia in the previous match, but I'd have been happy no matter who scored today, as long as we won,” Herlovsen said of her goal.

Dutch threaten a fightback, Norway stand firm

That was not the end of the drama though! With both sides attacking, Norway created more chances but it was the Netherlands who struck next. Vivianne Miedema broke away and got the better of Norwegian keeper Hjelmseth in a one-on-one to halve the deficit for the European Champions.

Maren Nævdal Mjelde
Maren Nævdal Mjelde captained the side to victory

The visitors were in the ascendency for the rest of the first half and had chances to equalise, although the best chance fell to Norway when Frida Maanum‘s long-range effort thundered off the woodwork.

After the break, Norway paid the price for their frantic start, tiring significantly and leaving holes at the back. A good performance from veteran keeper Hjelmseth was enough to hold on for the three points that sent the team through to France, and left the European Champions facing a four team play-off for the final berth.

Norway at the World Cup

Unlike the men's equivalent, the women's national team of Norway are seen as one of the leading national teams and are a regular participant at international tournaments.

That said, the golden years were largely in the 1990s and the 2000s, with the team struggling in recent tournaments. At the 2015 World Cup the team qualified from their group unbeaten but fell at the Round of 16 to England, who would go on to finish third.

Things got even worse two years later at the European Championships. The team lost all three games to finish bottom of their group, including a 0-1 defeat to the Netherlands who would go on to win the tournament. Revenge is sweet!

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

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