Norway has some of the best football players in the world, but they “underperform from championship to championship,” says one of them, Caroline Graham Hansen.
Her remark came shortly after the Norwegian women lost their inaugural World Cup match against New Zealand on Thursday in Auckland.
Norway may still advance in the World Cup, but despite being heavily favored to defeat New Zealand, they lost 1-0. Graham Hansen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) immediately following the crushing loss, “We did not accomplish anything out there.
We were terrible. You then fail. It’s aggravating.”Graham Hansen is a professional player for the recently-crowned Champions League champions, Barcelona.
It was anticipated that she and colleagues like Ada Hegerberg of Lyon and Guro Reiten of Chelsea would assist Norway in reaching the World Cup finals.
Hegerberg is already a legend in professional football, while Reiten contributed to Chelsea’s league championship.
Hegerberg, who has been recognized as the greatest female football player in the world, was enraged by the defeat.
Her criticism of how women’s football was inadequately organized and underfunded prompted her to withdraw from the 2019 World Cup, and she is widely credited for significant improvements since then, including the hiring of Hege Riise as coach.
Under Riise’s leadership, Hegerberg and her colleagues entered the World Cup with optimism and confidence, only to suffer an opening-round loss.
She remarked that the team had “some quite good opportunities to score, but overall we were subpar throughout the entire match and never managed to create attacks that put enough pressure on them, despite having good opportunities to do so.
I am extremely disappointed, as should we all be,” Hegerberg told NRK. “It was a poor performance on our part, and we never got into the game.
We can speak as much as we like, but we must reach the desired level.”
In her post-match comments to NRK, team commander Maren Mjelde was also visibly frustrated and admits to poor coordination.
It was a very frustrating match for us on the sideline and for all the players on the field, according to head coach Riise.
We do not deliver what I believe we are capable of, and there are numerous reasons for this.
Despite having champions such as Martin degaard of Arsenal and Erling Braut Hauand of Manchester City, the Norwegian men’s national team has also had difficulty winning international competitions.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s team was playing in front of more than 40,000 football supporters who were predominantly on their side.
It was the team’s 15th attempt to win the World Cup, and Hanne Wilkinson’s goal at the beginning of the second half energized both the stadium and the team.
Wilkinson, who was later named Player of the Match, stated that it was the greatest day of her life, even better than her wildest fantasies. She credited her fellow New Zealanders who came out to applaud and provide the home advantage on a chilly evening.
“They were extremely prepared; they won the first and second balls, while we were hesitant and never found a rhythm,” Riise explained.
She immediately convened a brief meeting with her players and has five days to make adjustments before Norway’s next World Cup matches in Group A, against Switzerland on July 25 and the Philippines on July 30.
“I will thoroughly evaluate what we could have done differently and make adjustments,” Riise told NRK after the “worst possible start for Norway at the World Cup,” as described by commentators. Bengt Eriksen of NRK also stated that the squad appeared “paralyzed and scared,” adding that Riise “should get more out of this team.”