Hege Riise from Norway wants to compete with the best. On Friday, another top ten opponent stood on the other side of the pitch during a private international match at the La Nucia stadium on Spain’s southeast coast.
France are ranked fifth in the world, seven places ahead of Norway, and are arguably the strongest team Norway has faced under the 53-year-old. In the end, the assumption of differences in quality also determines the field.
Seven minutes from the end of the match, France secured a narrow 2-1 victory.
– I am very satisfied with many things. Of course, it’s hard to lose, but we are strong against it. Then it was kind of hard to get to in the end, Riise told NRK.
– There are many positive things that can be taken here. It’s a bit of a composition, so it’s cool that we can do what we do. France weren’t much better than us today so I think we deserved more than we did, said the captain for the day, Guro Reiten.
It was also the woman Corinne Diacre who got off to the best possible start, 22 minutes into the game. Kadidiatou Diani held on behind the Norwegian defense and replied with a well-placed through ball. Alone against the goalkeeper, the PSG player is cold as ice.
Fight the Norwegian nightmare
“Les Bleues” has been a nightmare opponent for Norwegian women lately. Norway’s previous victory came in 2003. Since then, eleven matches have been played between the countries, either with France winning or drawing.
However, France’s opener came after a fine Norwegian period, and a late goal did not break the belief in victory. A minute after that goal, Eikeland was up in the air, but his header went wide of the post.
Then Sophie Roman Haug was much more on point. Marit Bratberg Lund first pulled up a naughty tunnel over the edge, before she headed for her teammate. His header was accurate and precise, making it 1-1 after half an hour.
– That is a great post from Marit. It’s always nice to score, the goalscorer told NRK.
It was the Roma man’s fifth goal in seven internationals, averaging 0.71 goals per game. All the goals were created in the last two months.
– It’s pretty raw, of course. He showed his strength in the box today too, said Riise of the striker.
Roman Haug made his debut in the national team this summer.
– I have been well received by the group. We have worked well together and made good plans, he said.
After the goal, Reiten gathered the players in a circle. The Norwegian team continued the good run, and got off to a dream start in the second half. However, the angle was a little too sharp for Julie Blakstad.
Diani was a constant moment of unrest, and once again managed to slip past the Norwegian defence. He also circled the goalkeeper, but in the open net he sent the ball to the wrong side of the goal wall.
Norway started to run out of energy towards the end of the match, which the opponent took advantage of. Seven minutes from full time, substitute Viviane Asseyi sealed victory for France with a header at the bottom of the post.
– We look tired and unfocused. Neither Norwegian player made it into that duel, in my opinion it was a bit weak, said NRK expert commentator Carl Erik Torp.
– We got a little behind the scenes and they were allowed to control a lot more. It was because we were a little tired, Riise said of the last minutes.
Riise’s aim to punish the top nations started with a 4-1 loss to Brazil in Ullevaal. This was followed by a huge rise with a 2-0 trip to the Netherlands. Norway held out for a long time against France, but had to settle for defeat in the end.
Norway is without many of its biggest stars. As is known, Caroline Graham Hansen is resting from the national team game, while Ada Hegerberg is injured. There was also Maren Mjelde, while Ingrid Syrstad Engen started on the bench after a few days of illness.
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