Chelsea Women’s Norwegian defender, Maria Thorisdottir, has been a regular in her nation’s backline since 2015. The Norwegian reached the semi-finals of the Under-17 European Championship in 2009 and she played in the final two years later at Under-19s level.

Thorisdottir is yet to experience success at senior level in a major tournament and will be hoping her side advances far in this Women’s World Cup. Norway play their first game today against Nigeria at 8pm UK time. We spoke to her…

How excited are you to be going to the World Cup?

‘I am really excited to go to France because my season hasn’t gone how I wanted it to go, so as we say in Norway, the World Cup has been like a carrot dangling in front of me – it’s good to be selected and my body is fit to go so I am really happy about it.’

What does it mean to be selected?

‘It means a lot, to play for your country is the biggest thing you can do as a footballer, so I’m really happy and proud.

‘This is my second World Cup, the last one was when I first came into the national team. I think I have gained a lot of valuable experience since then, so can’t wait to get out there on the pitch.

‘The experience in Canada was great, but I think it will be much bigger this summer in France and that’s so exciting.’

Who do you think the favourites will be?

‘It’s tough to say, but I think England will be really good and I think Germany are on their way up again. They had a big of a transitional period, but America as well have always been favourites, so I think maybe those three.’

What do you think Norway’s chances are?

‘We have also improved, we are a young team and I think we can be really good. We have a tough group but we have to just take one game at a time, and if we are all at our best we’ll perform well.’

What do you make of the teams in your group?

‘Well we have France in our group which will be tough. They are playing at home and they have a great team with a bunch of good players, but anything is possible.

‘South Korea is a different team and Nigera are a physical team so it will be difficult.’

What is the interest like back home?

‘It’s getting better luckily and if we do well, I think the interest will get bigger. We have to just work hard and try to get everyone behind us. It’s not as big as it is in England but I hope it will be one day.’

Are your family and friends going to the World Cup to support you?

‘Some of my friends and family are but it is difficult for them as they are all working. It’s not the summer break, but if we go through to the next stages then they will definitely come!’

Read: Our Women's World Cup preview