Women’s World Cup: Norway hold Switzerland to goalless draw

Norway’s chances of making the World Cup are in jeopardy after they were held to a scoreless draw by Switzerland in Group A.

Ada Hegerberg, Norway’s star forward, had to be replaced by Sophie Haug due to injury moments before kickoff, dealing another blow to the team that had been shocked by tournament co-hosts New Zealand in the opening game.

With one game remaining, Swiss goalkeeper, Gaelle Thalmann made a number of outstanding saves to keep the score tied and ensure that her team retained first place in the group.

The game was initially dominated by Switzerland, but Norway gradually gained ground.

Their best opportunity came after 22 minutes when Thalmann turned away a header from Haug.

Emilie Haavi’s cross presented the Roma forward with another opportunity to score but headed it wide.

After some good work, Coumba Sow gave the ball to Ana Maria Crnogorcevic, who shot wide before Nadine Riesen’s cross was deflected over the bar by Aurora Mikalsen.

Five minutes after the halftime break, Maren Mjelde’s headed effort was saved as Norway took control of the game.

Another attack saw a rebound fall to Haug, who smashed the ball first time, forcing Thalmann to make a fantastic stop to her left.

The goalkeeper made another solid save to push away a dangerous low cross from Caroline Graham Hansen.

Although Norway were creating chances, Switzerland had a couple of opportunities of their own when Ramona Bachmann hit an effort wide after making a great run down the centre of the pitch before an audacious shot by Riesen was held by Mikalsen.

Thalmann made two excellent saves back-to-back, first denying Graham Hansen with a low dive before blocking Frida Maanum’s rebound at the near post.

Switzerland pushed in stoppage time as Crnogorcevic’s menacing cross was defended and Graham-Hansen’s long free-kick was then easily saved in the final seconds.

The Swiss will progress to the last 16 with a point from their final group match against New Zealand, while Norway will need to beat the Philippines and hope results elsewhere go there way in order to avoid an early exit.

AFP

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