PARIS – The match between host nation France and Norway could have been a reunion for star Ada Hegerberg and her club teammates.
Hegerberg has refused to play for Norway the last two years as she’s pushed for equality throughout the game and respect in her country. Hegerberg’s stance removed the reigning world player of the year from the Women’s World Cup.
Had she played in Wednesday night’s Group A match at the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice, Hegerberg would have faced seven teammates from Lyon, which just won its fourth Champions League title. Norway coach Martin Sjogren said last month efforts had been made to persuade the 23-year-old to play in the World Cup, but she didn’t budge.
“As a coach, you need to focus on the players who want to be a part of the team,” Sjogren said, “and Ada doesn’t.”
Without Hegerberg, Norway coasted to an opening 3-0 win over Nigeria, its fifth victory in six matches.
France also cruised against South Korea, in the first game of the tournament, when Les Bleues rolled to a 4-0 rout. France had a huge crowd for that game in Paris and got a standout performance from Amandine Henry, who controlled the midfield and showed her range with a long goal.
Dzsenifer Marozsan will miss the remainder of the group stage for Germany because of a broken toe. Germany faces Spain in a Group B match Wednesday in Valenciennes.
Germany is hopeful the 27-year-old midfielder can return before the end of the tournament. Marozsan broke the toe on her left foot in Gemany’s 1-0 victory over China on Saturday but finished the match.
“The toe is unfortunately broken,” she posted on social media. “Nevertheless, there is no reason to let my head go down. Those who know me know that I won’t give up easily.”
Marozsan was an inspirational story for the tournament in France, having returned to the game after a pulmonary embolism kept her sidelined for several months last year. In the final at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, she scored against Sweden in a 2-1 victory for her country’s first gold medal. She has 32 goals in 91 international appearances.
Marozsan plays for Lyon and has been the French player of the year for the past two seasons. A World Cup championship is the only major title Marozsan doesn’t have.
The day begins with a Group A match at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble between South Korea and Nigeria, both coming off opening defeats.
Nigeria lost 3-0 to Norway, with all three goals scored in the first half. Nigeria managed one shot on goal the entire match and couldn’t play at Norway’s pace.
South Korea lost to France in the tournament opener.
- The United States opened its defense of its 2015 title with a record-breaking 13-0 romp over Thailand. Alex Morgan tied a World Cup record with five goals for the U.S., which broke the record for goals and margin of victory in a World Cup game. The previous record margin was Germany’s 11-0 victory over Argentina in 2007. Morgan tied Michelle Akers’ record for World Cup goals, set in the quarterfinals against Taiwan in 1991. “We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves,” Morgan said. “Every goal matters in this tournament and that’s what we were working on.”
- Jill Roord came off the bench and scored in stoppage time to give the Netherlands a 1-0 victory over New Zealand in the group opener for both teams. The Netherlands, ranked No. 8 in the world, controlled possession throughout the game but couldn’t get by goalkeeper Erin Nayler until Roord’s header.
- Kosovare Asllani’s goal after a weather delay broke up a scoreless stalemate and Sweden went on to win its Women’s World Cup opener 2-0 and spoil Chile’s debut in the tournament. Thunder prompted a delay in the match in the 72nd minute. It was resumed about 40 minutes later.
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