32 min “Burns, kick the ball long,” says Peter Gartner. “You’ve given away one goal already with your short passes from the back.”
Graham Hansen pings the penalty through Burns, who went the right way and got a touch but couldn’t keep it out.
30 min The resulting corner hits the outstretched elbow of Caldwell. She was probably unsighted after the ball dipped over a couple of heads at the near post, but rules are rules.
28 min: Great block by Magee! Norway cut Northern Ireland open down the right. Eventually Reiten squares the ball to Hegerberg, whose close-range shot is heroically blocked by the lunging Magee. That almost certainly saved a goal.
27 min A rare Northern Ireland attack ends with Wade shooting wide from 20 yards.
25 min Hegerberg misses an excellent chance, heading back across goal and wide from Reiten’s inswinging cross. For a player of her class, particularly in the air, that was almost a sitter.
24 min Maanum, given a bit of space 25 yards from goal, hits an excellent low drive that is pushed round the post by the sprawling Burns. Good save.
23 min There’s a lot of focus on Hegerberg and Hansen, understandably so, but Guro Reiten really is a delightful footballer – stylish, flexible, imaginative and full of mischief. She’s causing Northern Ireland all kinds of problems.
22 min: Good save from Burns! Another chance for Norway. Hansen, Reiten and Hegerberg combined beautifully to put Eikeland through on goal, and her poked first-time shot was well blocked by the outrushing Burns.
21 min It’s all Norway now, with Northern Ireland’s early enthusiasm starting to disappear after the blow of those two goals.
16 min Almost a third goal, with Reiten’s pullback just behind Hegerberg in the area. Norway look so slick.
That was a nightmare for Northern Ireland. The keeper Burns played a short pass to McCarron, who was pressed effectively by Maanum. The ball ran to Hegerberg in the area, and she squared it to give Maanum an open goal.
And now Frida Maanum has made it two!
13 min A crisp long-range strike from Maanum is well held to her right by Burns. These are dangerous times for Northern Ireland.
12 min Furness shoots over from distance. Northern Ireland have straight quite brightly in attack, with some very effective pressing.
It was a simple goal, stemming from a throw-in on the right. Hegerberg and then Reiten, with a terrific reverse pass, moved the ball across the field to the overlapping Blakstad. She took a touch and drilled a low shot past Burns at the post.
Julie Blakstad puts Norway ahead!
9 min There’s a break in play while the ball is changed. What is this, cricket?
7 min Graham Hansen wriggles away from three players on the right and crosses towrds Reiten, who heads over from 12 yards. That wasn’t a bad chance. And it was a thrilling run from Graham Hansen.
4 min The first chance for Norway. Reiten clips a lovely pass through to Hegerberg, who moves into the area and is shaping to shoot when McFadden makes a vital lunging tackle. McFadden’s tackle knocks the ball onto Hegerberg, who shoots over the bar as a result.
4 min It’s been a bright start from Northern Ireland, with the wing-backs Vance and Magee seeing plenty of the ball.
2 min “Northern Ireland say they aren’t here to make up the numbers, but a 5-3-1-1 formation suggests otherwise,” says Tony D. “They are playing for a draw and will probably do the same against England. The lone striker and number 10 will be very isolated and Norway’s defence will have an easy time picking them up on the break. Presumably NI will have two wing backs, but they will need to be very disciplined to avoid being caught on the break. Possibly not too many goals tonight.”
I’d be inclined to see their tactics as pragmatic rather than defensive. If they go toe to toe with Norway, they’ve no chance.
1 min Peep peep! Norway kick off from right to left.
“Hello Rob,” writes Kári Tulinius. “Given that Kenny Shiels seems to have Northern Ireland lined up with eight in defence, it looks like he’s worried about the mismatch with Norway. Which I understand. Were I facing Ada Hegerberg and Caroline Graham Hansen, I’d be tempted to tell everyone to just stand on the goalline and hoof every ball into the sea.”
On a lovely summer’s evening in Southampton, the players on both sides walk onto the field – Norway in red, Northern Ireland in white. There’s a fine atmosphere, with a reported crowd of around 11,000.
Northern Ireland are up against one of the all-time greats tonight: Ada Hegerberg, the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner who recovered from an ACL injury to inspire Lyon to Champions League glory this year. And now she’s back with Norway too.
England started Euro 2022 with a slightly nervy 1-0 win over Austria last night. Here’s Karen Carney’s take on the game, and especially the performance of the little genius, Fran Kirby.
Anyone out there? Feel free to send in your hopes, dreams, fears, thoughts on the merits of a 5-3-1-1 system or anything else.
Our special Euro 2022 podcast, Women’s Football Weekly, will be jostling for position in your podcast feed throughout the tournament. You can listen to it there, or by clicking the link below.
One of Northern Ireland’s star players is the Liverpool midfield Rachel Furness. She spoke to Louise Taylor about the impact of Northern Ireland’s qualification.
The lowdown on the two teams
The Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan, who has been struggling with a toe injury, starts on the bench. Sarah McFadden will captain the team in her absence.
Norway (possible 4-4-1-1) Pettersen; Sonstevold, Mjelde, Thorisdottir, Blakstad; Eikeland, Maanum, Syrstad Engen, Reiten; Graham Hansen; Hegerberg.
Substitutes: Skoglund, Mikalsen, T Hansen, Bergsvand, Boe Risa, Saevik, Ildhusoy, Bjelde, Terland, S Hansen, Josendal, Haug.
Northern Ireland (possible 5-3-1-1) Burns; Magee, McFadden, Nelson, Burrows, Vance; McCarron, Furness, Caldwell; Wade; Magill.
Substitutes: Flaherty, Turner, McKenna, Hutton, Callaghan, McGuinness, Holloway, L Rafferty, McDaniel, Wilson, Andrews, McGuinness.
Referee Lina Lehtovaara (Finland).
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Norway v Northern Ireland at St Mary’s. There’s been a helluva lot of hype and excitement about this game, so it’s about time somebody put it in perspective: it’s only the most important game Northern Ireland women’s team have ever played. Forty-nine years after their first international match, a 4-1 defeat to the Republic of Ireland, they will play in a major tournament for the first time.
Whether because of nationality, gender, unconscious snobbery, most of us struggle to fully appreciate what tonight means for the women’s game in Northern Ireland. We know it’s historic, we wish them nothing but well, but the occasion doesn’t hit us in the viscera. How could it?
That creates a slightly uncomfortable feeling – we don’t want to underplay the occasion, but we don’t want to patronise Northern Ireland either. There is an elephant in the preamble: the likelihood of this being a mismatch. Although Northern Ireland are saying all the right things, they are realistic enough to know that their Euro 2022 impact is likely to be long-term, revealed by future generations, rather than immediate. By qualifying, they have changed the women’s football forever in Northern Ireland.
Anything that happens in the next nine days is a bonus. They are 250-1 outsiders to win this tournament and have been drawn in a seriously difficult group. Tonight’s opponents, Norway, beat them 6-0 home and away during qualification, and are among the excitingly large group of teams who could conceivably win the tournament. The attack of Caroline Graham Hansen and Ada Hegerberg – who retired from international football for five years after Norway’s disastrous Euro 2017 – will worry any defence in the tournament.
The tournament. Euro 2022. The one that includes Northern Ireland.
Kick off 8pm.