Norway dump Australia out of women's World Cup

...Germany reach last eight with win over Nigeria

Sunday, June 23, 2019

NICE, France (AFP) — Sam Kerr was one of two Australian players to miss a penalty as Norway beat the Matildas 4-1 in a shoot-out following an engrossing 1-1 draw yesterday to reach the quarter-finals of the women's World Cup.

Ingrid Engen converted the decisive spot kick for the Norwegians after both Kerr and Emily Gielnik had failed to convert for the Australians in Nice.

Norway had earlier taken the lead through Isabell Herlovsen before being pegged back by Elise Kellond-Knight scoring direct from a corner late on.

Nobody could find a winner in extra time, although Australia had Alanna Kennedy sent off, but the 1995 world champions had the last laugh and will go through to a quarter-final against either England or Cameroon.

As Kerr and Australia go home, Norway remain on course to meet their stated objective of finishing among the medals, despite coming to the tournament without their biggest star, Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg.

They had drawn first blood, taking the lead just after the half-hour mark. Australia defender Steph Catley failed to cut out Karina Saevik's ball in from the right flank and Herlovsen pounced to score with a clinical finish.

For a long time it looked as though that would be the only goal, with the Matildas left frustrated just before half time when they were awarded a penalty only for the decision to be overturned.

German referee Riem Hussein pointed to the spot when she saw what appeared to be a handball by Norwegian defender Maria Thorisdottir. However, she changed her mind after a review of the images showed the ball had, in fact, struck her shoulder.

Kerr and Hayley Raso had already come close for Australia before that and Kerr then had an effort ruled out for offside in the second half.

Nevertheless, with just seven minutes of normal time left, they drew level in fortuitous fashion as Kellond-Knight curled in a corner from the right and the ball evaded everyone on its way into the net.

It was a painful way to concede for Norway, although they almost won the game in injury time when a Hansen effort from the edge of the box hit the inside of the post and rolled out to safety.

Meanwhile, Germany Captain Alexandra Popp hailed a “perfect day” after leading her team into the last eight with a hard-fought 3-0 win over underdogs Nigeria in Grenoble.

Popp, 28, scored a 20th minute opener and celebrated her 100th cap as Germany became the first team to reach the quarter-finals.