Ada Hegerberg makes Norway return after exiting pitch prior to group-stage clash

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Ada Hegerberg makes Norway return after exiting pitch prior to group-stage clash
Ada Hegerberg makes Norway return after exiting pitch prior to group-stage clash

Ada Hegerberg has made her first appearance for Norway since that confusing moment when she walked off the pitch after lining up with her teammates against Switzerland in their second Women's World Cup group stage.

Hegerberg had lined up alongside her teammates to belt out the national anthem but disappeared down the tunnel before the game got underway. The former Ballon d'Or winner drew perplexed looks from her teammates as she withdrew from the action, with Roma striker Sophie Román Haug called in at the eleventh hour as her replacement.

She then missed their final group stage match against the Philippines which saw Norway thrash them 6-0 and book their place in the round of 16, dramatically knocking out co-hosts New Zealand.

Hegerberg came off the bench against Japan replacing teammate Caroline Graham Hansen.

It's the first time she's been named in the matchday squad since the extremely confusing moment just prior to the kick-off against Switzerland where she sparked questions from everybody watching on.

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Speaking after the game, Hegerberg said: "There was an acceleration just before kick-off that made me feel something. It made me not want to risk anything. I wish I could have contributed, but I think the girls worked hard. We're missing the last piece that we need and deserved."

She later tweeted: "I felt discomfort when sprinting right after the anthems. We decided with the staff that no risk should be taken and no subs should be wasted in such an important game for us, and we all trusted Sophie, Karina, and the team to do the job, which they did. We move on."

Hegerberg came on as a substitute in the 74th minute of the match replacing European giant Caroline Graham Hansen, but Norway's energy was already depleted trying to stop a phenomenal Japan.

Hegerberg couldn't quite make an impact in the game, and while a cross from Reitin in the 83rd minute would have been the perfect opportunity - her volley flew way over the bar.

Norway were defeated by Japan in a 3-1 dramatic match and now exit the tournament.

Japan's win puts them through to the second quarter-final where they will face either Sweden or the USA.

Laura Hartley

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