Norway’s hopes of reaching the Women’s World Cup last 16 hang in the balance after they lost star forward Ada Hegerberg to injury before kickoff and were then held 0-0 by Switzerland on Tuesday.
Former Ballon d’Or winner Hegerberg had lined up for the national anthems in Hamilton before heading back towards the dressing room, with Sophie Roman Haug coming in as a last-minute replacement.
The Norwegian Football Association said Hegerberg had felt a pain in her groin in the last sprint of the warm-up.
Norway lacked inspiration in the final third in the absence of the UEFA Champions League’s all-time top scorer, and they remain without a goal or a win at this World Cup.
After losing 1-0 to co-hosts New Zealand in the tournament’s opening game, the 1995 World Cup winners have just one point in Group A.
Switzerland are top with four points, one ahead of New Zealand and debutants the Philippines, who beat the co-hosts 1-0 earlier in Wellington.
Norway therefore must now win their final group game against the Philippines in Auckland on Sunday to stand a chance of advancing to the knockout stage.
Switzerland just need to avoid defeat against New Zealand at the same time in order to reach the last 16.
The loss just before kick-off of Hegerberg, whose career has been blighted by injuries in recent years, was a huge blow to Norway.
It was also a disappointment for the 10,769 fans who showed up on a cold, wet and miserable night on New Zealand’s North Island.
Her replacement, the Roma player Roman Haug, was unlucky not to score, forcing a good save from Swiss goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann with a header midway through the first half.
She also tested Thalmann from a half-volley after the ball broke to her in the area 10 minutes into the second half.
Norway were more lively following the introduction of Caroline Graham Hansen just before the hour mark, and the Barcelona winger became the next player to force a save from Thalmann after cutting in from the right flank.
Her club teammate Ana Maria Crnogorcevic had Switzerland’s best chance in the first half, firing over after a quick exchange of passes.
Ramona Bachmann also missed the target from a promising position after the restart.
Yet a draw was a better result for Switzerland, and Norway are now at risk of a group-stage exit, just like at last year’s European Championship.
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