Analysis

Women’s World Cup: Maren Mjelde on positives to take from France loss and new signing Guro Reiten

Chelsea Women’s Maren Mjelde and Norway lost their second FIFA Women’s World Cup fixture against hosts France 2-1 last night, but is confident they will progress to the knockout stages of the World Cup finals…

The experienced, versatile player, who captained Norway in front of a boisterous crowd of 34,872 at Nice’s Allianz Riviera, was solid at centre-back with her fellow Chelsea team-mate Maria Thorisdottir, and it took France until the second half to cause damage.

Norway had plenty of promising opportunities to go ahead, with the Blues’ newest addition Guro Reiten being involved in much of their attacks. And at one point the 1995 World Cup champions were level with their opponents until a VAR penalty decision led to France snatching all three points to top Group A.

‘I think we had good control from the first half, our goal was to have a clean sheet but it’s hard against an opponent like France, we conceded at a really bad time at the beginning of the second half that made it difficult for us,' Mjelde told the official Chelsea website. 'But it’s really strong from us for coming back again and scoring, but then we conceded again.

‘I think we had a good performance and it’s hard playing against them in this big crowd and massive pressure from the start really, but there’s lots of positive to take from this and that is what we’re going to build on for the next game.

‘We did a really good job to defend our box and then I saw the VAR decision come up on the screen and normally the referee gives it so it’s just a lot of emotions going through your head when you’re in a situation like that.

‘Of course it’s hard but the referee is explaining to us several times that she’s been watching it several times and that she is confident in her decision and that the decision is made so we can’t do anything about it.’

The Norwegians have one last hurdle to jump in order to seal a place in the knockout stages when they go into battle with Ji So-Yun’s South Korea side in Reims on Monday. Mjelde is optimistic about the prospect.

‘I’m confident for the next match,’ says Mjelde. ‘It’s been a long time since we’ve played against an opponent like this [France] and I think we did really well, but we learn from it and we just have to concentrate on South Korea now.

‘As long as we stay calm and are good defensively we will create chances against the South Koreans, so yeah I’m confident that we are going to go through to the knockout stages, but it’s going to be a hard job.

‘South Korea are a good team with good players and they can also still have hope to go through so it’s going to be tough of course, but we’re confident.’

She also commented on Guro Reiten, her international team-mate and Chelsea Women’s newest signing ahead of the 2019/20 Women’s Super League season.

‘I think it was a really good decision from her coming to us. I’ve been saying really good things about Chelsea of course.

‘She’s a really good player and I think she’s done really well in two games for us, she has good offensive qualities that will be good for our team at Chelsea.’

Read: France v Norway match summary.

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