From the AMEX – Norway were eliminated from Euro 2022 as a tenacious Austria side won 1-0 in Brighton on Friday night to take second place in Group A behind England.
Austria were the better side throughout the contest, with Norway still looking rather shellshocked from their encounter with the Lionesses earlier this week, and the two teams were separated by Nicole Billa’s fine first half header.
The teams came into the fixture knowing the winner would join England from Group A and qualify for the quarter finals, with Austria ahead of Norway at the start of the night due to their superior goal difference.
Despite having seen his team get torn apart 8-0 by England on Monday, Martin Sjogren elected not to make wholesale changes to the starting XI, with just two new players coming in. Irene Fuhrmann was similarly hands-off with her approach, making just one alteration from the side that beat Northern Ireland 2-0.
It was the Austrians who made the better start, making a few forays into the Norway half before Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller saw a sweetly struck volley from distance flicked onto the bar by Guro Pettersen.
Fuhrmann’s side continued to impress, nicking the ball in decent areas without further testing Pettersen, while the Brighton crowd buzzed in its Norwegian majority whenever Ada Hegerberg got on the ball.
Austria were rewarded for their excellent first half performance with the opener, as Verena Hanshaw crossed perfectly for Billa to guide a header into the far corner.
Norway had failed to look threatening during the first half and went into the break knowing two unanswered goals would be needed in the second period to avoid becoming the first major casualty at Euro 2022.
However, by the 70th minute they still hadn’t given Manuela Zinsberger any saves to make as Billa and Barbara Dunst had shots saved for Austria, who looked more likely to add to their advantage than concede an equaliser.
While Norway enjoyed more possession and even saw a Celin Bizet Ildhusoy strike tipped onto the bar by Zinsberger, they could not draw level and exit the tournament in disappointing fashion.
Austria, meanwhile, deservedly continue their journey thanks to this victory, though face a tough assignment against Germany in Brentford in the quarter-finals next Thursday.
GK: Manuela Zinsberger – 6/10 – Only 14 touches and no saves to make in the first half. Wasn’t much busier in the second, aside from denying Bizet.
RB: Laura Wienroither – 7/10 – Very keen to get up the flank and put crosses into the box.
CB: Carina Wenninger – 7/10 – Caught Hegerberg with a late challenge and was cautioned. Otherwise helped Schnaderbeck to keep Hegerberg quiet.
CB: Viktoria Schnaderbeck – 7/10 – Read the danger well to snuff out a few potential Norway attacks in the first 45.
LB: Verena Hanshaw – 8/10 – Sent a difficult half-chance into the crowd but later set up Billa with a great cross.
DM: Sarah Puntigam – 7/10 – The main screening enforcer for Austria but still supported the attack.
RM: Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller – 7/10 – Booked for kicking the ball away early on. A live-wire in attack, looking dangerous in the final third.
CM: Sarah Zadrazil – 7/10 – Had a few moments where she might have got space for a shot on another day. Hardworking in midfield and created some nice openings.
CM: Laura Feiersinger – 8/10 – Enjoyed a good first half, having a long shot tipped onto the bar and winning the ball high up the pitch on a few occasions.
LM: Barbara Dunst – 6/10 – Decent opening when she cut inside but dragged her effort wide.
ST: Nicole Billa – 8/10 – Scurried around and hassled Norway’s backline before leaping highest to nod in Hanshaw’s cross. The match
SUB: Lisa Makas – 6/10 – Should have scored within seconds of her introduction but shot straight at Petterson.
SUB: Marina Georgieva – N/A – Brought on late to ensure the win.
GK: Guro Pettersen – 6/10 – Quite fortunate to see Hickelsberger-Fuller’s effort flick off her fingers and onto the woodwork. Tipped away a Billa cross-shot but couldn’t keep out the header. Made a few stops in the second half to prevent Austria moving too far out of sight.
RB: Tuva Hansen – 6/10 – Recovered the ball well and had a good battle with Dunst.
CB: Guro Bergsvand – 5/10 – Had a challenge checked by VAR but wasn’t punished. Good intervention to stop Zadrazil from shooting in a promising area but was unaware of Billa’s presence for the opening goal.
CB: Maren Mjelde – 6/10 – Got Norway out of a few sticky situations with some alert defending. Won’t have been happy with the quality of defending from her side.
LB: Julie Blakstad – 7/10 – Tenacious on the left, making three tackles and seven recoveries in the first half.
CM: Frida Maanum – 6/10 – Came into the starting lineup and took more chances getting forward later on.
CM: Ingrid Syrstad Engen – 6/10 – Did some good dirty work but couldn’t provide any guile or craft that Norway were crying out for.
RW: Amalie Eikeland – 6/10 – Enjoyed a couple of fruitful runs but was sacrificed with Norway looking for goals.
AM: Caroline Graham Hansen – 5/10 – Dragged an early opening into the side-netting. Stifled by Austria’s fierce pressing and tackling and was limited with her output.
LW: Guro Reiten – 6/10 – Opened up a good opportunity for Hansen with a nice pass. A bit quiet otherwise.
ST: Ada Hegerberg – 6/10 – Picked the ball up and looked to charge forward and play out wide. First real sight of goal was a dragged effort. Exits the tournament without a goal.
SUB: Celin Bizet Ildhusoy – 6/10 – Tasked with improving Norway’s threat and did have an effort pushed onto the bar.
SUB: Sophie Haug – N/A – Thrown on in search of goals.
SUB: Vilde Boe Risa – N/A – Another throw of the dice which came a little too late.
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