Norway end Ireland women’s World Cup dream

Bell’s side can’t find a way back after going behind to contentious first half penalty

Norway 1 (Graham-Hansen 23 pen) Republic of Ireland 0

Republic of Ireland manager Colin Bell was left disappointed after a contentious penalty decision brought an end to his team’s women’s World Cup qualification quest.

Needing three points against the group’s top seeds Norway, Ireland were beaten by Caroline Graham-Hansen’s penalty midway through the first half.

Referee Esther Staubli, who booked teenage debutant Issy Atkinson for entering the pitch too early as a substitute, penalised Claire O’Riordan for her late challenge on Graham-Hansen after 24 minutes.


However, the Swiss didn’t point to the spot when Maren Mjelde clearly caught Ireland’s Megan Connolly at the other end.

Ireland also almost fashioned a late leveller when Katie McCabe swivelled 10 yards out but saw her low shot kept out by goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth.

The defeat was Ireland’s third in a row, consigning them to third place in their group and short of the runners-up finish which might have earned them a play-off place and a chance of reaching France next year.

Norway will now battle it out with European champions Netherlands to determine the first and second placings while Ireland host neighbours Northern Ireland in the concluding qualifier on August 31st.

“Claire (O’Riordan) committed to the tackle early but Graham-Hansen was already up in the air before that,” said Bell. “Not every referee would give that decision.

“In the case of our claim, I felt we were never going to get a penalty here.”

Norway boss Martin Sjögren said afterwards: “’Ireland caused us more problems than in Friday’s game in Dublin but we still deserved to win.”

Norway: I Hjelmseth (Stabaek); I Moe Wold (Lillestrom), M Mjelde (Chelsea), M Thorisdottir (Chelsea), E Haavi (Lillestrom); C Graham Hansen (Wolfsburg), F Maanum (Lingkoping), I Syrstad Engen (Lillestrom), G Reiten (Lillestrom); L-M Utland (FC Rosengård), I Herlovsen (Valerenga). Subs: E Thorsnes (Utah Royals) for Utland (61 mins), V Boe Rise (Arna-Bjonar) for Maanum (64 mins), S Skinnes Hansen (Lillestrom) for Herlovsen (90+2 mins).

Republic of Ireland: M Hourihan (Manchester City); S Perry-Campbell (Brighton & Hove Albion), C O'Riordan (Wexford), L Quinn (Arsenal), Á O'Gorman (Peamount Utd); K Duggan (Peamount Utd); T Toland (Maiden City); D O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), M Connolly (Florida State Seminoles); K McCabe (Arsenal); L Kiernan (Shelbourne). Subs: A Barrett (Peamount Utd) and R Jarrett (Wexford) for Connolly and Kiernan (both 83 mins), I Atkinson (Shelbourne) for O'Gorman (89 mins).

Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI)