My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Norway set down a marker to their World Cup rivals as they produced a dominant performance to thrash debutants Thailand. The Thailand team, composed entirely of players from their domestic leagues, never had any answers to the almost continuous waves of Norwegian attacks.
Norway took the lead from a Trine Rønning 25 yard free-kick, despite the Thailand keeper Waraporn Boonsing getting a hand to the ball. Their second was a sublime team goal that would make Arsenal jealous and was converted by Isabell Herlovsen. She soon had her second goal, this time from a header as Norway went into half-time 3-0 up.
Their fourth came midway through the second half with Ada Hegerberg finally converting a chance. It could have been 5-0 when the Thai captain Duangnapa Sritala handled in the box, but Maren Mjelde’s penalty was well saved by Boonsing.
In truth, Norway’s biggest group test comes this Thursday when they play the European Champions Germany. And if Thailand have any chance of qualification, they must beat Côte D’Ivoire.
Remarkably though, it should have been Thailand who had opened the scoring in the 5th minute, but you can only now imagine what type of game we would have had. Kanjana Sungngoen used her pace to break down the right-wing, and her cross picked out Silawan Intamee – but the ball just brushed off her thigh and the chance was gone.
This jolted Norway into life, and a tantalising early cross from the outstanding Solveig Gulbrandsen picked out Ada Hegerberg but her header hit the far post and went wide.
And then they did score, coming from a free-kick won by Isabell Herlovsen who was fouled by Nattharkarn Chinwong, 25 yards from goal. The Norwegian captain Trine Rønning placed the ball down, and she curled the ball over the wall and into the net – despite Boonsing getting a hand to the ball.
Soon after, Hegerberg and Lene Mykjåland had half-chances but neither threatened the goal, but Thailand never regained their composure.
Mykjåland’s corners were proving a menace, and it looked like Hegerberg was going to have an easy header, but her own player Gry Tofte Ims challenged for the same ball and headed over.
And when Norway finally scored, it was a goal from the footballing gods. A delightful incisive passing move ended when Gulbrandsen passed to Herlovsen in the box, who took her time before her left-footed shot flew into the bottom right corner.
Then it was 3-0. Some wonderful skill from Gulbrandsen allowed her to get her cross in and Herlovsen obliged with a headed goal. The Thai defender Chinwong will be disappointed as she seemed to duck out of her challenge on Herlovsen. The Norwegians then celebrated with a team photo selfie, just without a phone.
Minutes later Herlovsen was denied her hat-trick when she was correctly ruled offside.
Thailand did create a chance early in the second half, but Sungnogen’s long range effort was an easy save for Ingrid Hjelmseth.
Norway was still creating chances with Gulbrandsen, Rønning and Hegerberg all having efforts saved by Boomsing.
They really should have scored as Kristine Minde crossed across the six-yard box to Hegerberg who somehow missed the target.
And then it was 4-0. Substitute Elise Thorsnes broke down the right-wing and played the ball back across the six-yard box to Hegerberg, who this time did score.
Norway then had a golden chance for a fifth when Thorsnes driven shot was blocked by Sritala and the referee pointed to the spot. Maren Mjelde stepped up and placed the ball towards the bottom left corner, but Boonsing produced a magnificent save to parry the ball away.
In second half stoppage time, Thailand did create two chances to get a consolation goal. Orathai Srimanee cut off the left-wing and her shot dipped past Hjelmseth but hit the crossbar. And then Srimanee broke into the box with a superb run, and a succession of Thai players had a chance to shoot, beforePikul Khueanpet’s effort was saved low down by Hjelmseth.
Woman of the Match
I am going to award the woman of the match to Solveig Gulbrandsen who assisted the second and third goals, and was the creative hub of a very impressive Norwegian side.
Norway: Hjelmseth, Mjelde, Rønning (Thorsnes 63), Holstad (Skammelsrud 46), Gulbrandsen (Haavi 69), Tofte Ims, Mykjåland, Minde, Herlovsen, Hegerberg.
Goals: Rønning 16; Herlovsen 29, 34; Hegerberg 68. (Mjelde missed penalty 75)
Thailand: Boonsing, Phetwiset, Sritala, Chinwong, Srangthaisong, Khueanpet, Intamee, Thongsombut, Seesraum (Srimanee 59), Maijarern (Chawong 90), Sungngoen.
Booked: Phetwiset, Sritala.