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Women’s Euros: Norway enjoying underdog status ahead of England clash | Football News

When Norway’s players landed in England on July 3, they weren’t really being spoken about as one of the teams to potentially win Euro 2022. After a resounding win against Northern Ireland in their opening group game, that’s beginning to change.

A team packed with players starring in Europe’s best leagues, Norway’s individual talent eclipses their FIFA world ranking of 11.

At the head of the pack is the first-ever Ballon d’Or winner and top scorer in Champions League history – Ada Hegerberg.

“It’s a very, very big game for the group stage,” the Lyon striker told Sky Sports News before their huge Group A match against England.

“Obviously, playing at their home grounds in a packed stadium is the moment we play for. We are going to enjoy it.”

Hegerberg apologised during our interview for speaking in cliches, stating they have to ‘take every game as they come’ but let out a rye smile when discussing whether she’s hoping to ruin England fans’ summer.

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Norway’s Ada Hegerberg says a 4-1 win over Northern Ireland will boost their confidence ahead of a clash against England at Euro 2022

The forward returned from a 20-month injury lay-off back in October and one way through it was to set herself various short-term and long-term aims.

The short-term objectives were various based around fitness, the long-term aim was playing at the highest level with Lyon again. She more than achieved that by starring in the French giants’ Champions League campaign, scoring in the final.

Reconnected with ‘world class’ Hansen

07.07.2022, Football, UEFA Womens EURO 2022, Norway - Northern Ireland, ENG, Southampton, St Marys Stadium Cheering after the goal to 3:0 by goal scorer Caroline Graham Hansen (10 Norway), 2. v. r Photo by: Heiko Becker/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
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Caroline Graham Hansen has had a stellar few seasons with Barcelona

Hegerberg is always quick to speak about the abilities of her international teammates, especially Barcelona attacker Caroline Graham Hansen who she calls “truly world class”.

The pair’s friendship had to be put on hold during the build-up to May’s Champions League final, the usual text chats were brought to a halt.

But now they’re reunited, much to the pleasure of Hegerberg.

“Now the season’s over it’s interesting because… Boom! We’re back together, we do all we can do to be at our best together and be the best for Norway.”

As well as being one of the most talented players in the competition, Graham Hansen is a serial winner.

She earned seven domestic trophies in five seasons at Wolfsburg before winning three consecutive league titles and a Champions League winners medal at Barcelona.

Add to that back-to-back Women’s Super League champions Guro Reiten and Maran Mjelde from Chelsea, Arsenal midfielder Frida Maanum and potential breakout star Julie Blakstad from Manchester City. Norway really do have one of the most accomplished starting XIs at the tournament.

Norway's Frida Maanum (top) celebrates with Ada Hegerberg after scoring their side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Group A match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Thursday July 7, 2022.
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Norway’s Frida Maanum celebrates with Ada Hegerberg after scoring their side’s second goal of the game against Northern Ireland

Almost all of the players mentioned so far had an influential impact during Norway’s opening Euro 2022 victory against Northern Ireland. Blackstad, Maanum, Hansen and Reiten scored the goals.

Reiten assisted the opener, while it took under 13 minutes for Hegerberg to have a hand in a goal on her return to a major international tournament, often playing unselfish passes for her teammates to shine.

It was a warning to the other teams in Group A and beyond – we are here to play. As 2019 World Cup quarter-finalists, they are aiming for another crack at the knockout rounds.

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Norway striker and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, Ada Hegerberg believes her country could achieve something special at the Women’s Euros this summer

“I just love spoiling the party,” full-back Tuva Hansen told Fotmob.

Beating the team the majority of the 30,000 fans have come to cheer in Brighton on Monday night will be certainly one way to do it.

If that happens, Norway will be underdogs no more.

Follow Euro 2022 across Sky Sports

Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.

Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.

They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.

The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.

In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong programme line-up around the tournament.

Euro 2022: The groups…

Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland

Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland

Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland

Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland

Euro 2022: The schedule…

Group stage

Wednesday July 6

Group A: England 1-0 Austria

Thursday July 7

Group A: Norway 4-1 Northern Ireland

Friday July 8

Group B: Spain 4-1 Finland

Group B: Germany 4-0 Denmark

Saturday July 9

Group C: Portugal 2-2 Switzerland

Group C: Netherlands 1-1 Sweden

Sunday July 10

Group D: Belgium vs Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium

Group D: France vs Italy – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium

Monday July 11

Group A: Austria vs Northern Ireland – kick-off 5pm, St Mary’s

Group A: England v Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Tuesday July 12

Group B: Denmark vs Finland – kick-off 5pm, Stadium MK

Group B: Germany vs Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Wednesday July 13

Group C: Sweden vs Switzerland – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane

Group C: Netherlands v Portugal – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village

Thursday July 14

Group D: Italy vs Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium

Group D: France vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium

Friday July 15

Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick-off 8pm, St Mary’s

Group A: Austria vs Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Saturday July 16

Group B: Finland vs Germany – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK

Group B: Denmark vs Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Sunday July 17

Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane

Group C: Sweden vs Portugal – kick-off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village

Monday July 18

Group D: Iceland vs France – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium

Group D: Italy vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium

Knockout phase

Quarter-finals

Wednesday July 20

Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Thursday July 21

Quarter-final 2: Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Friday July 22

Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village

Quarter-final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium

Semi-finals

Tuesday July 26

Semi-final 1: Winners quarter-final 1 v Winners quarter-final 3 – kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane

Wednesday July 27

Semi-final 2: Winners quarter-final 2 v Winners quarter-final 4 – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK

Final

Sunday July 31

Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 – kick-off 5pm, Wembley

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