FIFA Women’s World Cup record
Very much part of the global elite, Norway are FIFA Women’s World Cup™ ever-presents and are making their eighth consecutive appearance in the competition. Crowned world champions in 1995, the Scandinavians finished runners-up at the inaugural world finals in 1991 and fourth in 1999 and 2007, an impressive record that has cemented their status as perennial favourites. The Norwegians fared less well on their last two appearances, however. Knocked out in the group phase at Germany 2011, they exited Canada 2015 in the Round of 16, beaten 2-1 by England after having taken the lead.
The road to France
Norway topped Group 3 in the European qualifying competition from UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 champions the Netherlands, after beating them 2-0 on the final matchday. Having lost to a late goal in their first meeting with the Oranje Leeuwinnen, the Norwegians had no option but to win the return fixture on home soil, a task they achieved thanks to early strikes from Ingrid Engen and Isabell Herlovsen. Martin Sjogren’s side won all their other games, collecting maximum points home and away against Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Slovakia.
Following in the footsteps of a legend is never easy, but Sjogren had no hesitation in accepting that challenge when he took over from Even Pellerud, the man who guided Norway to glory at Sweden 1995 and an iconic figure on the country’s women’s football scene. Appointed in December 2016, Sjogren, who hails from Sweden, won two leagues and two national cups during spells with Rosengard and Linkopping in his home country. Though Norway had a disastrous Women’s EURO 2017, suffering three defeats in their three group matches, Sjogren steered them back on track in the qualifiers for France 2019, as they advanced at the expense of the European champions. “Norway have a strong tradition in women’s football and boast some of the best players in Europe,” he said on taking on the job. “We are in a transitional phase right now but this team has the potential to shine at the highest level already.” It is a point he is hoping to prove at France 2019.
7 - the number of goals Lisa-Marie Utland scored to finish level with Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso as the second-highest markwoman in the European qualifiers.