Ingrid Syrstad Engen scored the winning penalty as Norway progressed to the quarter-finals of the World Cup after beating Australia in an enthralling affair reports ROB SILLS.
The penalty shoot-out ended 4-1 to the Scandanavians after a scintillating 1-1 draw in Nice. In a game that had everything, both teams produced gutsy performances as they bidded to secure victory.
Isobell Herlovsen gave Norway the lead only for Elise Kellond-Knight to equalise directly from a corner. Caroline Graham Hansen smashed the post in the dying seconds as the game went to extra-time.
Australia lost Alanna Kennedy to a red card after she brought down Lisa-Marie Utland, before Vilde Boe Risa hit the bar for Norway.
Penalties were required and after Sam Kerr and Emily Gielnik saw Australia’s opening penalties saved, Norway scored four out of four to progress to the next round, where they will face either England or Cameroon.
Norway manager Martin Sjogren on what he told his players before the penalty shoot-out:
When you get to a penalty shoot-out you have to use consequence thinking. I said if we win then we win together but if we lose then we lose together. Nobody will be a scapegoat. I’d like to underline the strength of the group and we are really proud.
Sjogren on potentially facing England in the Quarter-Finals:
Well England has made a really good start to the World Cup and they’re a very impressive team. They’re very stable, they don’t let in many goals. England are a very good team but they’re not in the quarter final yet. They have to beat Cameroon first so let them start with that!
Player of the match Caroline Graham Hansen on team confidence:
We have a high confidence level in our team. We said whatever happened didn’t matter because we have done a fantastic job so far. There is a really nice feeling of confidence in the group and it was really controlled during the penalty shoot-out.
Australia manager Ante Milicic on impact of the defeat:
The staff have been amazing, the work we’ve done, the scenarios, the details, the preparation has been excellent. We did everything we could and that’s what hurts more. We are obsessed with this game and I’ve been involved in so many games. I won’t fall in love with the game after tonight but that hurt.
I think that at the start when I brought the squad together. A lot of girls hadn’t really kicked a ball before the World Cup. Ultimately, we came into a game with players that didn’t have the cohesion as a team. Its fuel for the girls that were frustrated they didn’t come to the world cup. I’ve given a few young ones an opportunity and exposed them in this environment.
Milicic on Australia captain Sam Kerr’s penalty miss:
I’m extremely proud of Sam, as an Australia coach to work with her has been amazing. What I’ll say is only big players step up to go first because small players don’t take them.