The Algarve Cup is upon us. Flipping yes. Here’s a preview of tomorrow morning’s opponent, Norway.
Australia v Norway
Time: Thursday 1st March 5.30am
On: Fox Sports
Norway’s FIFA Rankings: 14
Some background, Norway have traditionally been strong in women’s football. They are not footballing minnows like their male counterparts. They’ve even got a World Cup under their belts, won in 1995. In recent years though they haven’t looked nearly as threatening as their history suggests they should, nor as threatening as the players at their disposal suggest they should be.
In last years Euro’s they looked underwhelming at best, losing all three games. Although it must be mentioned they were up against both finalists (the Netherlands and Denmark), as well as an impressive Belgium outfit. They have bounced back from a dreadful Euro’s campaign in their qualifying campaign for next year’s World Cup, with two very one sided wins over the Northern Ireland and Slovakia, whilst only being edged by reigning European Champions, the Netherlands, 1-0 by a last minute goal.
Norway will have a familiar face for W-League fans, with Elise Thorsnes lining up for the Norwegians. After her firing campaign here in Aus, we can expect Thorsnes to carry that form on through to her national team. An important aside is super star Ada Hegerberg has hung up her boots for the national team for the immediate future, thus she will not be dazzling us with her stupendous ball skills. (Our defenders will be happy about this, for pure footballing value though a bit disappointed).
Momentum is a cool thing. The Matilda’s currently have it. For Norway, recent results against the Netherlands, and their defeats at last year’s Euros suggests they might not have it. The last time Norway beat a team in the top 10 was the Netherlands way back in March last year. That’s gotta hang over a team’s head. So, on the basis of form and this being the first game of the Cup, the Matilda’s definitely go in with an edge. But expect a tight game. I’ll be watching on the edge of my bed with tired eyes. You should too.