Women’s Euros: Norway boss fires ‘massive pressure’ warning to England ahead of group-stage showdown

·2-min read
Women’s Euros: Norway boss fires ‘massive pressure’ warning to England ahead of group-stage showdown

Norway boss Martin Sjogren says England are under “massive pressure” to deliver home Euros success this summer, but believes the Lionesses will pose a “totally different challenge” with a nerve-settling win under their belts.

England were unconvincing in their opening night victory over Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday, emerging as 1-0 winners thanks to Beth Mead’s early goal.

In the other game in Group A on Thursday night, however, Norway made a confident start to their own campaign, thrashing tournament debutants Northern Ireland 4-1 at St. Mary’s.

England and Norway meet at Brighton’s Amex Stadium next Monday in a game that already looks like having the potential to decide who finishes top of the group and Sjogren is expecting a better performance from the side that knocked his team out of the 2019 World Cup.

“I think when you see the game, England were very happy just to win,” Sjogren said. “There are huge expectations on the England team, I think you guys more or less think they should win the tournament, which they can do. But there’s massive pressure on England so with that background I think they were very happy just to win the game.

“If you look at the performance, you can say so much about it but I think it was a close game, Austria played really well. But the next game coming up is a totally different game. Now both teams have got off to a good start, with a win, it’s going to be totally different playing England in their second game than the game [against Austria].”

Arsenal midfielder Frida Maanum and Chelsea’s Guro Reiten were both on the scoresheet in Norway’s win in Southampton, as was Barcelona star Caroline Graham Hansen, who shone in a player of the match display.

At full-time, the latter admitted her relief to be up and running after Norway’s disastrous Euro 2017 campaign, in which they finished bottom of the group without picking up a point or scoring a goal.

Aside from the confidence boost, however, Sjogren admitted there was little his side could carry from their hammering of the lowest-ranked side at the tournament into Monday’s England clash.

“We had a plan that we were going to dominate this game, we won’t dominate the next game the way we did this one,” he added. “But we have a good plan for that game, too - it’s a totally different challenge for us.”

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