Goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann shielded Switzerland to a 0-0 draw against Norway on Tuesday at the Women’s World Cup, as the Norwegians played without star striker Ada Hegerberg because of injury.
Hegerberg was initially listed to start, but the team announced during the match that the former Ballon d’Or winner was unable to play after experiencing “a feeling in the groin” toward the end of her pre-match warmups.
The Norwegians could have used her to break open a scoreless game. In her place, Sophie Roman Haug started the match as a striker. But Roman Haug’s Women’s World Cup debut proved to be a fruitless one. She was substituted in the 73rd minute for Karina Saevik.
Switzerland and Norway each had their share of opportunities to score a decisive opener throughout the match, but it was Norway that forced Thalmann to come up with four saves.
Despite a constant drizzle for most of the match, 10,769 fans were in attendance for the Group A match in a Waikato Stadium that holds just over 18,000.
Thalmann made a number of key saves, but her sternest test came with 15 minutes left in regulation time.
Norway substitute Caroline Graham Hansen released a powerful curving shot from the top of the area, but Thalmann parried the low shot out for a corner.
WHY IT MATTERS
The result leaves Group A, which also includes the Philippines and co-host New Zealand, up for grabs. The Swiss lead with four points, New Zealand and the Philippines each have three and Norway has one. But there are scenarios under which each of them could make the knockout stages.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“This is a step in the right direction for us. We were much better this game -– much more calm and composed, and managed to create chances.” — Guro Reiten, Norway midfielder.
“It’s exciting, and to be in first place after two games, it’s great. But we know that we will have to go again against New Zealand. It won’t be easy but we’re definitely going for the win again.” — Ramona Bachmann, Swiss forward.
Sitting at the top of Group A, Switzerland will duel with second-place New Zealand in Dunedin. In need of a win, Norway will travel to Auckland to face a Philippines lineup emboldened after upsetting the Football Ferns 1-0. Both matches will be played Sunday.