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Women's World Cup

Ingrid Hjelmseth warns Norway: We should not let in too many goals against Nigeria

3:44 PM MYT 07/06/2019
Ingrid Hjelmseth - Norway
Ahead of Saturday's showdown, the goalkeeper has urged her teammates to put up a solid defensive display

Veteran goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth says the Norway team must tighten up at the back ahead of their Women's World Cup opener against Nigeria in Reims.

The Grasshoppers recorded five wins in seven pre-Women's World Cup friendlies played in 2019, scoring 19 goals but let in seven in the process. 

To wrap up their buildup, the 1995 winners were inspired by Isabell Herlovsen's hat-trick to thrash Africa Women's Cup of Nations runners-up South Africa 7-2 in Amiens on Sunday.

Despite their big win over the Africans, the 39-year-old shot-stopper has warned her side against conceding too many goals to avoid ruining their own dreams.

"I have a good feeling and feel that we have a great team," Hjelmseth told the NFA website.

"We are underdogs, but we know that we are a strong and united group that believes in the way we have worked and the goal we have worked towards. 

"We know that we can perform well together. I believe in the goal we have set ourselves and that is that we are going to fight for a medal. 

"But it is close and even in international football so we must have some luck and the ball must bounce our way for us to do it, but it applies to all nations that will be involved in the fight for the medals.

"We are dependent on having 23 top players and we should not let in too many goals if we are to fight for medals. For my part, it is about keeping the longest possible and most possible."

The Stabaek goalkeeper made her international debut for Norway in 2003 and has featured 132 times for the Scandinavian country.

In what might be her last World Cup, Hjelmseth, whose heroics helped the team to end as Uefa Women's Championship runner-up in 2013, says she is in top shape for the tournament.

"I do not think so much about it being my last World Cup, I think more about that I am looking forward to playing a new championship," she continued. 

"It's the positive experiences I remember best. The tight and smooth matches we won. 

"The absolute highlight is when we beat Denmark after a penalty shootout competition in the European Championships in Sweden in 2013 and went all the way to the finals."

Norway are making their eighth World Cup appearance and they will aim for a winning start when they take on Nigeria at Stade Auguste-Delaune.