Norway are one of just four teams to have won the Women’s European Championships but have not tasted glory since their second triumph in 1993 – before Germany took over and won six in a row. In the years since, Norway have managed two group stage exits, three semi-finals and two final appearances but they go into this tournament as one of the outsiders.
Nevertheless, this is a team full of quality, and it showed in Norway’s qualifying route. Put in a group alongside Northern Ireland, Wales, Belarus and Faroe Islands, Norway barely broke a sweat in securing six wins from six to finish four points clear at the top despite playing fewer games (with two matches cancelled). In that group, Norway scored 34 goals and conceded just one, form they took into World Cup qualifying. Since September 2021, Norway have won 10 of their 13 matches across all competitions, only losing twice against Portugal and Italy in the Algarve Cup.
Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are playing at a major tournament for the first ever time having finished runners-up of their qualifying group behind Norway. But it wasn’t a smooth qualification. With four wins, two draws and two defeats from their eight matches, Northern Ireland scraped through by the skin of their teeth, finishing above Wales by virtue of away goals on their head-to-head – a 2-2 draw in Newport doing the job.
The tournament debutants haven’t had the best of preparations for the Euros either. Despite getting four wins from six at the end of 2021, Northern Ireland failed to win their two real tests, beaten 4-0 by England and drawing 2-2 with Austria – who join them in this group alongside Norway. And 2022 hasn’t gone any better, with Northern Ireland losing their past four games including defeats to England and Austria, and a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium in their final game before Thursday.
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Norway Women vs Northern Ireland Women match stats
When these sides met in qualifying for Euro 2022, Norway had a lot of fun in front of goal, recording 6-0 victories home and away. Northern Ireland haven’t had the best of time defensively recently either, conceding 12 goals in their past three matches.
It still doesn’t feel real, but we’re about to see Ada Hegerberg playing for Norway at a major tournament in 2022. The 2018 Ballon d’Or Feminin winner had taken herself out of consideration for the national team in the summer of 2017 as a protest due to a dispute with the Norwegian Football Federation and their treatment of women’s football. She finally ended that exile in 2022 and scored a hat-trick on her return, to take her overall tally to 42 goals in 70 matches.
Norway Women vs Northern Ireland Women: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Norway Women 4-0 Northern Ireland Women
8:00 pm Thursday July 07
Norway Women 4-0 Northern Ireland WomenWomen's Euro 2022