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Heia Norge: The Riise of Norway’s New Nationality

Caroline Graham Hansen and Ingrid Syrstad Engen / Kvinnelandslaget on Instagram
Caroline Graham Hansen and Ingrid Syrstad Engen / Kvinnelandslaget on Instagram

As the Women’s World Cup edges ever closer, we dig into Norway’s chances at silverware this time around.

They say “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” And in the case of the Norwegian women’s national football team, Grasshoppene learned the hard way. It has been well over a year since the start of the 2022 Women’s EUROs, a competition that neither players or fans like to remember. Since then, Norway have taken the steps to assure the past never be repeated, including firing former head coach Martin Sjögren and installing the impressive Hege Riise last August. 

Looking to face host nation New Zealand in the opening match of the World Cup, the red clad Scandinavian royalty will want to set the stage for the world. And luckily, with the help of two Barcelona Femeni starlets, Norge can make that happen. Ingrid Syrstad Engen, a 25 year old defensive midfielder and claiming more than 50 appearances for her country contributed 1893 minutes last season with 2 goals and 1 assist. Regarded as a utility player, used for shielding and forming a more solid back line, her height, grit, and pin-point medium to long range passes make a quality combo for Norway’s recipe. 

Along with Syrstad Engen, the inevitable Caroline Graham Hansen (28) finally has an opportunity to shine. Missing the 2022 EUROs due to injury, “CGH” say fans and teammates alike, are ready to rumble. A menace on the wings, any opposing defenders only need to blink once and she’s gone. In only 781 minutes for Barcelona Femeni last season, Hansen hustled to an astounding 11 goals and 6 assists, lifting the UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy with bliss. With the help of Engen and Hansen, Norway has a handful of cards to lay on the table, including Ballon D’or winner Ada Hegerberg (Lyon) and WSL title winner Guro Reiten (Chelsea). Tune in on July 20th to watch New Zealand vs Norway in the Group A anarchy.