Why Ada Hegerberg’s call-up makes Norway Euro 2022 contenders

Ada Hegerberg Norway re-inclusion

Ada Hegerberg is one of the best strikers in women’s football history. 

The forward was the first-ever recipient of the Women’s Ballon d’Or and holds the record for the most goals ever scored in the Women’s Champions League. 

Hegerberg has also scored more than 200 times for Lyon and boasts a goal ratio of better than one a game. 

Still only 26, Hegerberg was out of action for more than 18 months between January 2020 and October 2021 due to an ACL injury, but made her much-anticipated return this season. 

So far, she had picked up right where she left off and bagged 12 goals in all competitions. 

Hegerberg has also scored 38 goals in 66 appearances overall for Norway but last played international football in 2017, after protesting against the nation’s treatment of women’s football. 

Yet, with Euro 2022 right around the corner, Hegerberg has decided now is the time to give her country another chance. 

1 of 15
Arsenal vs Chelsea

Who scored the first ever WSL goal on 13th April 2011?

GiveMeSport Women looks at why the striker’s re-inclusion could make Norway genuine contenders for silverware this summer: 

What could Hegerberg add to Norway? 

Hegerberg previously described her time with the national team as “deeply depressing” and said it gave her nightmares. 

But with this year’s European Championships set to be the biggest in the competition’s history, the striker has seemingly made peace with the Norwegian Football Federation. 

NFF President Lise Klaveness said there have been “good conversations” to build trust again and stressed there is a commitment to giving the women’s team what they need to “develop into the best in the world.” 

It won’t be the first major tournament the 26-year-old has played in either. Hegerberg starred at the 2013 Euros where Norway made the final, before losing to Germany 1-0. 

And in the 2015 World Cup, the forward scored three goals in the group stage, including two against the Ivory Coast, though Norway were eventually knocked out by England in the last 16. 

One thing that Hegerberg will guarantee is goals. So far in her career, the Lyon star averages 0.58 goals a game for her country and ranks ninth on the all-time goals list. 

Isabell Herlovsen still leads the way with 67, ahead of Marianne Petterson, who has 66. 

Who will Norway play at Euro 2022? 

Norway are in Group A at Euro 2022, which also features hosts England. 

England last played Norway in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final, where they won 3-0. However, Hegerberg did not feature for Norway on that occasion. 

The Lionesses will fancy their chances, especially with home support, but having a world-class striker in Hegerberg is something that Sarina Wiegman’s team seemingly lacks at the moment. 

Austria and Northern Ireland are the other two teams in Group A. While both sides have qualified for the game on merit, Norway sit 12th in the world rankings and will be strong favourites against two countries that sit 21st and 46th respectively. 

Which other stars do Norway have? 

While Hegerberg will undoubtedly be the focal point of Norway’s team, they have plenty of other stars who could play vital supporting roles. 

Chelsea’s Guro Reiten has been in tremendous form this season and is capable of operating in central midfield or in a wider role. 

Similarly, another WSL player in Frida Maanum, who signed for Arsenal this season, is a rising star who will pull the strings in the centre of the park. 

The biggest names aside from Hegerberg will be Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen and Elise Thorsnes. 

Graham Hansen is one of the standout forwards in Barcelona’s exceptional squad and is widely regarded as one of the best wingers in world football. 

Meanwhile, Thorsnes boasts more than 120 caps for Norway in an international career that has spanned 16 years. 

With just a few months to go until the Euros gets underway and plenty of potential winners, the tournament is already set up to be a fascinating one.

News Now - Sport News