Austria 1-0 Norway
by Jorge Ceron (16/7/22)
Above: Nicole Billa heads the winning goal for Austria. Photo: Euro 2022.
Norway, many people’s dark horses to advance deep into the competition ended a nightmare week in the tournament with elimination at the group stages at Brighton.
Despite being beaten 8-0 by England a few days earlier, the Norwegians started as slight favorites in Brighton against Austria, who were semi-finalists in 2017.
Going into the game, Austria needed only a draw to progress, so one would think that the Norwegians, having the obligation to win, would go with everything from the first whistle, but it was not until the 15th minute that they approached the Austrian goal through Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen, whose shot was deflected away.
There was a real feeling of tension about the game, logical perhaps due to the winner-takes-all situation in terms of qualifying for the Quarter-Finals. Austria had the first opportunity when calling for a penalty when Nicole Billa entered the area and fell, but It was never fatal, although the VAR did check it, the result of that play was the first corner kick of the game.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Laura Feiersinger’s shot looked about to enter the net, but ended up against the bar. The first serious warning from the Alpine nation. The minutes passed and Norway continued to show themselves as a very passive team, perhaps still remembering the eight goals against a few days ago.
Indeed, it was Austria who kept Norway’s backline busy. Just over 10 minutes before the break, after an excellent build-up, Billa’s shot was repelled by Norwegian goalkeeper Guro Pettersen.
But the die was cast, and Billa headed in superbly a precise pass from Verena Hanshaw and scored the first goal of the game. The first precise blow had already been given. Something major needed to happen from the Norwegians in the second half after they ended the opening 45 without a single shot on goal.
The second half began like the first. The Austrians going on the attack and Norway passive, knocked out. In the first 20 minutes of the period, Austria had shots on goal, and two crosses into the area, although nothing to worry about, while Norway had only one shot very wide by Ada Hegerberg.
Precisely in the middle minutes of the second half, Norway had its best moment, having several crosses into the area, but they only stayed at that, crosses into the area that nobody could finish off, or shots deflected.
In the final 20 minutes, Austrians responded and Lisa Makas received the ball totally alone in front of the goalkeeper, but that loneliness appeared to unnerve her, and her shot the ball passed under the goalkeeper, flirted with the post, and went to a corner kick.
In the last 10 minutes, the Norwegians remembered the need for goals and went on the attack, although without much technique, or luck, or anything. Five corner kicks were the sum outcome of their attacks, and the most dangerous move for them arrived a minute into stoppage time which the goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger saved brilliantly.
The game ended, and Austria deservedly beat Norway 1-0, qualified for the quarterfinals, and their ‘prize’ is called Germany.
Teams: AUSTRIA (4-1-4-1): Zinsberger; Wienroither, Wenninger, Schnaderbeck, Hanshaw, Puntigam, Hickelsberger-Füller (Makas), Zadrazil, Feiersinger, Dunst; Billa (Georgieva).
Scorer: Billa 37′.
NORWAY (4-2-3-1): Pettersen, T.Hansen, Bergsvand, Mjelde, Blakstad (Haug), Syrstad Engen, Maanum (Boe Risa); Eikeland (Ildhusøy), Graham Hansen, Reiten, Hegerberg.
Referee: Kateryna Monzul.