Austria v Norway: Group A - UEFA Women's EURO 2022 BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: Caroline Graham Hansen of Norway takes to the field prior to the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 group A match between Austria and Norway at Brighton & Hove Community Stadium on July 15, 2022 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

FIFA Womens World Cup 70 Day Countdown: Day 2 - Norway Snapshot

As we enter day two of Edge of the Crowd's electrifying 70-day countdown to the highly anticipated 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, we're diving headfirst into a whirlwind tour of the fierce and fabulous teams gracing this year's tournament.

Join us on this journey as we dish out the inside scoop on each squad's strengths, weaknesses, players to keep an eye on and what a pass mark might be for each nation.

Take a look at Group A team, Norway.

FIFA Women's World Cup appearances: 8 (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)

Best Performance in a FIFA Women's World Cup: Champions (1995)

Players to watch

Caroline Graham Hansen is a versatile and creative force on the field, with her dribbling skills and playmaking abilities. She was named in the most recent friendly squads for the fixtures against Sweden and Spain after taking some time off international duty last year citing fatigue, and more worryingly heart problems. If she plays at this year's competition she has the potential to be a difference maker for Hege Riise’s side.

Guro Reiten is known for her vision, passing, and goal-scoring prowess, making her a key player in the Norwegian attack. 

Ingrid Syrstad Engen brings strength and stability to the midfield, contributing to both defence and offence with her accurate passes and tireless work rate.

Finally, we must touch on Ada Hegerberg. The Lyon striker, and the first-ever recipient of the Ballon d'Or Féminin, will be a huge boost to the Norwegian attack if she can be fit for the competition after suffering a thigh injury in Norway's 3-3 draw with Sweden.

2023 form

Outside of their two most recent fixtures, the majority of Gresshoppene fixtures came in February's Tournoi de France. The invitation-only round-robin tournament saw the Norwegian women pick up a win, a loss and a draw, finishing third in the final standings.

Following that was a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Spain in Ibiza, that saw the side down 4-1 within an hour. A late own goal added some respectability to the scoreline, but this was still a performance the majority of Norwegians would want to forget.

Norway's most recent fixture was a goalfest against Scandinavian neighbours Sweden that finished 3-3. After leading 2-1, it seemed that the Norwegians had thrown away that lead when they went down 3-2. A late strike from Arsenal star Frida Maanum saw them draw 3-3 in their final fixture prior to the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: Norway's team cohesion is one of its greatest assets, as the players work well together on the field. Norway's midfield is particularly strong, with Reiten and Engen providing a formidable partnership that allows them to control the game. 

The talented Graham Hansen’s skill and flair can unlock any defence. Getting her on the pitch will be a massive weapon in Riise’s arsenal.

Their set-pieces are also a strength, often resulting in goal-scoring opportunities.

Weaknesses: Despite its strong midfield, Norway can sometimes struggle against teams with a high press, which can expose the side's defence. Norway's backline, while solid, is not impervious and can be vulnerable to pacey attackers. 

A major concern is Norway's depth, as an injury to a key player like Hansen, Hegerberg or Reiten could significantly affect the team's attacking capabilities.

Pass mark

Reaching the quarter-finals would be considered a satisfactory achievement for this Norwegian side, given the quality of their players. If things fall their way, however, they undoubtedly have the talent to push even further, and a semi-final appearance would be seen as a resounding success.

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