Draw with Switzerland leaves Norway’s World Cup hopes in peril

Norway's Frida Maanum and Switzerland's Julia Stierli fight for the ball in their scoreless draw.

Norway's Frida Maanum and Switzerland's Julia Stierli fight for the ball in their scoreless draw. Photo: AP

Norway is staring down the possibility of a Women’s World Cup group-stage exit after scrapping out a lacklustre 0-0 draw with Switzerland.

The Norwegians sit bottom of Group A on one point, following their 1-0 opening loss to New Zealand with an unconvincing draw after the Philippines earlier beat the Football Ferns.

Hege Riise’s charges will have to beat the Philippines, and hope the Switzerland-New Zealand clash falls in their favour, to progress.

Switzerland leads the group on four points (goal difference +2), followed by New Zealand (three points, 0) and the Philippines (three points, -1).

Norway copped a massive blow just minutes before kick-off when star striker Ada Hegerberg, after singing the national anthem, walked back down the tunnel and withdrew from the game at FMG Stadium, Waikato.

The Norwegian federation said on Twitter Hegerberg had felt something in her groin late in the warm-up.

The Lyon sharpshooter was replaced by Sophie Roman Haug.

Barcelona guns Caroline Graham Hansen and Ingrid Engen had already been bizarrely dropped to the bench after Norway’s opening loss to New Zealand.

It was a call that didn’t pay off as the Norwegians were unable to get past Switzerland goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann, who made five saves.

Both sides lacked a clinical edge in wet conditions.

Roman Haug forced Thalmann into a big save with a powerful header in the 24th minute.

Eight minutes later Coumba Sow slipped through Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic but the Switzerland striker couldn’t get her shot on target.

Roman Haag forced Thalmann into another good save in the 55th minute.

Graham Hansen’s introduction two minutes later gave Norway a much-needed spark.

Switzerland’s Ramona Bachmann burst away in the 64th minute and cut onto her left but dragged her shot wide.

Graham Hansen went on a wonderful run in the 75th minute, jinking past defenders before shooting towards the bottom corner.

But Thalmann again stood up, making a good double save to deny first the Barcelona star, then Arsenal attack Frida Maanum’s follow-up, and preserve a clean sheet.


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