Norway are off and running in the Women’s Euros after a dominant first win against Northern Ireland.
The two-time champions razed the debutants 4-1 as both teams got their Women’s European Championship campaign underway in an entertaining match.
Norway, who have reached the final twice since their most recent title in 1993, looked the part of a confident team throughout the game and took the lead before the 10-minute mark through midfielder Julie Blakstad.
Frida Maanum doubled the advantage three minutes later after receiving a neat pass from 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg, who is playing her first major tournament since reconciling with her board before Caroline Graham Hansen made it 3-0 from the penalty spot in the 31st minute to put the game away.
Just when it seemed like Norway will inflict the heaviest Euros defeat on Northern Ireland, defender Julie Nelson, N. Ireland’s most capped player, pulled one back for the only first-timers at the 2022 tournament after halftime, nodding home from the edge of the six-yard box.
The joy of their first goal was short-lived as midfielder Guro Reiten lashed a free-kick past goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns five minutes later to restore Norway’s three-goal lead and send a warning sign to the rest of the teams in contention for the tournament.
With a heavy win, Norway moved top of Group A ahead of second-placed England, who are also on three points following their 1-0 win over Austria on Wednesday.
Norway and England will play each other on Monday in Brighton in a game that could shape their tournament journey’s for better or worse.