Norway will be without star striker Ada Hegerberg for their must-win Women’s World Cup clash with the Philippines on Sunday because of injury, coach Hege Riise said.
The former Ballon d’Or winner has not recovered from the groin injury that forced her to pull out of Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland just before kick-off.
“She is not ready for this game,” Riise told reporters at Eden Park on Saturday.
“It came too early after her injury. She is still working to be ready for the next game.”
Lyon striker Hegerberg, the all-time top scorer in the UEFA Champions League, had lined up for the national anthems just before kick-off against Switzerland.
However, she then promptly headed back to the dressing room, saying later that she had felt a pain in her groin in the warm-up.
Without her Norway again toiled in front of goal, the goalless draw coming after a 1-0 defeat against co-hosts New Zealand in the tournament’s opening game.
That means the 1995 World Cup winners have to beat the Philippines in Auckland just to stand a chance of advancing to the knockout phase from Group A.
That will definitely be enough to progress if Switzerland beat New Zealand at the same time in Dunedin.
However, any other outcome in that game would leave Norway relying on goal difference to go through.
“It is very simple,” said Riise.
“We need to go out there and attack. We are on the offensive. We were a bit better against Switzerland and we need to be even better tomorrow.”
Riise indicated that Caroline Graham Hansen was a contender to return to the starting line-up.
The Barcelona winger claimed she had been disrespected after being dropped to the bench against the Swiss, exposing disharmony in the Norwegian camp.
“We handled it, that issue is now behind us and we have a match tomorrow in which we all want to do much better,” said Riise.
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