Northern Ireland v Norway: Everything you need to know as our girls kick off their Euro 2022 campaign in Southampton
Northern Ireland kick off their long-awaited first-ever major tournament final when they take on Norway this week in their UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 opener.
The daughters of Enny Shiels are making history competing after qualifying with their play-off victory over Ukraine and now have the chance to mingle with some of the best in the world.
Here’s everything you need to know before the meeting…
When is the game?
Northern Ireland’s opener is at 8pm on Thursday July 7.
Where is the game?
It will be played at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, the same stadium that will host Northern Ireland’s three group matches.
If I am lucky enough to be in Southampton and can go to the game, how can I get tickets?
You can buy tickets by visiting uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing/. Tickets are priced at £20 (category 1), £15 (cat 2) or £10 (cat 3).
How can I watch the game?
The game will be shown live on BBC One, with coverage starting at 7.30pm. It will also be broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.
What are the favourites?
Having beaten Northern Ireland in the qualifying campaign, Norway are also big favorites to win this encounter. Martin Sjögren’s side have the pedigree of former World Cup and European Championship winners, and they have one of the best players in the world in Ada Hegerberg up front.
Norway is 11th in the world ranking. Northern Ireland are 47th which should be another indicator of how this game should go.
So these parties have met before?
Yes, ironically by qualifying for the tournament. Norway won both encounters 6-0, emphasizing their quality en route to top of qualifying Group B after winning all six of their matches.
Northern Ireland shouldn’t be too discouraged as they didn’t score against the Scandinavians, as they conceded just one goal throughout the campaign – and that was to lowly Belarus!
Who else has Norway?
Their team is full of stars and Northern Ireland will do well to quell their many threats.
In defense alone, Chelsea’s Maren Mjelde, Manchester United’s Maria Thorisdottir and Manchester City’s Julie Blakstad are quality operators, while fellow Chelsea women Guro Reiten and Arsenal’s Frida Maanum lead the midfield.
Hegerberg, one of Europe’s greatest strikers, is joined by Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen in attack, while fellow Catalan star Ingrid Syrstad Engen is a danger on the wing.
What are the likely line-ups?
Norway: Peterson; T Hansen, Mjelde, Thorisdottir, Blakstad; Saevik, Engen, Maanum, Reiten; CG Hansen, Hegerberg
North Ireland: Burns; Hutton, McFadden, Nelson; Magee, McCarron, Furness, Callaghan, Vance; Wade, Magill
Who else is in the Northern Ireland squad?
It would be hosts England and World Cup qualifiers Austria, who will meet in the opening game of the tournament on Wednesday night.
In order to make it out of the group, Northern Ireland must finish either as group winners or runners-up, which is a tall order given the quality of the opposition they were drawn against.
When are their other meetings?
After Northern Ireland take on Norway, they will face Austria on Monday July 11 at 5 p.m. and complete the group stage against hosts England on Friday July 15 at 8 p.m.
All three games are at St Mary’s.