International

Women’s World Cup: Perfect start for Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorisdottir as Norway win their opening match

Chelsea Women's Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorisdottir plus our latest signing, Guro Reiten, all got off to a good start in the Women's World Cup after beating African champions Nigeria 3-0.

Norway came away with three well-deserved points tonight after netting three goals inside the first half in Reims. They made it evidently difficult for the Nigerian defence, and their energetic attacking style paid off early on in the game. They took the lead after 18 minutes courtesy of Reiten, who gave us a flavour of what to expect from her in a Chelsea shirt next season. From a clever corner she received, the midfielder unleashed a fierce close-range shot which deflected off Nigerian defender, Onome Ebi to help it on its way in.

The latest addition to Emma Hayes’ squad was also in on the action for the second goal, she picked up the ball in the final third and threaded through striker Lisa-Marie Utland, which enabled her team-mate to blast an unstoppable shot past Nigeria’s no.1.

Just three minutes later, the Scandinavians lead was extended due to an unfortunate own goal – Nigeria’s centre-back, Osinachi Ohale, failed to clear an incoming ball from the right side and regrettably poked it past Tochukwu Oluehi who had no hope in goal.

The second half was less lively as the Norwegians sat back safe in the knowledge that victory was secure. Although Nigeria's strike force continued to push forward, they struggled to break down Norway’s stern defence, with skipper Mjelde and Thorisdottir being the strong centre-half pairing taking no prisoners

Tonight’s victory means that Norway have won an impressive seven out of eight opening World Cup matches, with the only time they lost was back in 1991 against China.

Player of the match Reiten said afterwards: 'It's fantastic, now we just have to keep going.

'I don't think I have played any better matches. It's always very exciting to play in a World Cup and the first five or 10 minutes are a bit chaotic and things happened very fast, but after that we got into the game and it went really well.

'I want a medal but we have many hard matches in front of us, but we will try to do everything we can and play our best.'

The win puts Norway in good stead for their last two Group A matches against tournament hosts France and Ji So-Yun’s South Korea.
 

MORE FROM CHELSEA