FOOTBALL: Northern Ireland Women beaten by Norway in World Cup Qualifier

Northern Ireland goalkepper Lauren Perry
Northern Ireland goalkepper Lauren Perry

Northern Ireland’s women will be disappointed after they were beaten 4-1 by Norway in their opening World Cup qualifier in Fredrikstad on Friday night.

Norway - the 1995 world champions - dominated and Northern Ireland had to call on goalkeeper Lauren Perry who made several fine saves to keep the score down.

Guro Reiten put Norway ahead on 15 minutes before Caroline Graham Hansen doubled the lead with a penalty and from then on NI had a mountain to climb.

The talented Lisa-Marie Utland made it 3-0 after the break and, although Caragh Milligan replied with one minute left, Reiten scored her second in stoppage time to seal the deal.

Hansen and Kristine Minde also hit the woodwork as Norway, 14th in the world rankings, enjoyed 79% of the possession.

NI now face ranked 60th in the world, face the 33rd-ranked Republic of Ireland at Mourneview Park on Tuesday. The Netherlands and Slovakia are also in Group C, with only the winners guaranteed qualification for the 2019 World Cup in France.