Football Tips

Euro 2022 Tips: No problems in front of goal for Norway

Ada Hegerberg Norway Football
Hegerberg's return to the Norway side could see them go on a run at Euro 2022

"Ada Hegerberg returned to the international scene in March and along with Caroline Graham Hansen, will most likely cause this Northern Ireland defence all sorts of problems."

Back Hansen to score anytime @ 1.728/11

Northern Ireland make their major tournament debut on Thursday in an incredibly tough group that also includes England, Norway and Austria but Abigail Davies thinks it'll be their opponents who get off to the perfect start.

Northern Ireland v Norway
Tuesday 7th July, 20:00
Live on BBC One

England remain favourites to top Group A at 2/9 but if you fancy two-time champions Norway to finish above England at the top, they are 16/5 to do so.

Norway not yet being considered

Northern Ireland come into Euro 2022 as the lowest UEFA ranked side involved and they could be about to learn a lesson or two in the group stages of their first ever major tournament.

Kenny Shiels' team created history by reaching this stage, there is no doubt that they will again be underdogs, as they were in qualifying, and of course it will be an incredible occasion for the entire nation. Two crucial draws with Wales helped them secure their place in the play-offs for the tournament where they beat Ukraine over two legs.

Ashley Hutton's 94th minute equaliser at Rodney Parade felt at the time as though it could prove to be significant and it certainly turned out to be that way.

It's the Nordic nation up first for the debutants and despite their previous success at the Euros, they are not being talked about very much at all when it comes to outright winners this summer.

Six-time finalists and winners on two occasions, Norway had a disastrous European Championship in 2017, despite huge expectations they bowed out without scoring a single goal in the group stage.

Of course in the years since, manager Martin Sjögren has had time to fully implement his style of play, which is a contrast to Norway teams of the past.

A strong focus on attack, at the 2019 World Cup the question marks were over the strength of their defence but in qualifying for this tournament, Norway put down a marker by topping their group despite playing just six of their eight games. In the process, they scored 34 goals and conceded just once.

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Maren Mjelde is fit and available to return to action following a long injury absence. Having the heartbeat of your defence fit, especially when your first choice goalkeeper is set to miss the tournament, is crucial for that stability and steely presence at the back.

In terms of dark horses, Norway have to be up there. They are 10/3 to reach the semi-finals and I wouldn't be surprised to see them go on a run, especially with the return of such a crucial star.

Hegerberg's return certainly helps

Following almost a five years hiatus, a self-imposed exile due to what she believed was an unfair treating of women's football by the national federation and a system that she just didn't feel she fitted into, followed by a long spell on the sidelines due to an ACL injury, Ada Hegerberg returned to the international scene in March - scoring a hat-trick in her first match back in a Norway shirt - and along with Caroline Graham Hansen, will most likely cause this Northern Ireland defence all sorts of problems.

The Lyon striker was on target in the French club's Champions League final victory in May and will undoubtedly be key if Norway are to progress from the group stage.

Ballon d'Or winner in 2018, Hegerberg has scored 42 goals for Norway, is the all time top goalscorer in the Women's Champions League and is 2/1 to open the scoring in their opening fixture on Thursday.

As for Hansen, her deliveries are devastating. She is a key figure for a dominant Barcelona side that is regarded by many as the greatest domestic team in the world right now.

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Norway struggled in front of goal five years ago but with this dynamic duo in form and leading the way this summer, I don't expect them to have the same issues in front of goal.

Northern Ireland aware of their opponents threat

Of course Northern Ireland know all too well how ruthless this side can be as they were also in the same group for qualifying. Norway won both fixtures by six goals to nil with Hansen netting five of the 12 goals.

The Barcelona wide player is 8/11 to score anytime in this match.

You can also use the Bet Builder section of the website to back Hansen to score and over 3.5 goals in the match at 71/50.

As for Shiels' side, Rachel Furness has scored a number of important goals at international level. The midfielder enjoyed FA Women's Championship success with Liverpool last season, gaining promotion back to the Women's Super League and the top scorer in the qualifying campaign for this event is 11/2 to score anytime in the tournament opener.

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