Huge blow for Norway as Ada Hegerberg sits out do-or-die battle vs. Filipinas

Norway coach Hege Riise confirmed that Ada Hegerberg will miss the team's must-win clash against the Filipinas. Mia Montayre/PFF
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Norway's bid to survive a surprisingly competitive Group A of the FIFA Women's World Cup suffered a big blow as forward Ada Hegerberg is out for its Sunday battle against the Philippines.

Norwegian team coach Hege Riise relayed the sad news on Saturday during the pre-match press conference in Auckland that Hegerberg will sit out the match as she recovers from a groin injury.

"She's not ready for this game. It came too early after her injury," Riise said.

Hegerberg's absence is the latest in an ongoing drama surrounding Norway in which the world number 12, expected to top Group A during the preseason, suddenly crashed to last place ahead of its showdown against the world number 46 Filipinas.

Caroline Graham Hansen sounded off following Norway's goalless draw against Switzerland on Tuesday that led to the Norwegian side's precarious situation, implicitly calling out Riise after she was relegated to the substitute role.

Graham Hansen eventually apologized for her previous statement the day after and was supported by Riise.

And then there's Hegerberg's injury, in which she felt pain in her groin area moments before kickoff against Switzerland.

Hegerberg was initially listed as a starter, but with only a few seconds left before the start, Sophie Roman Haug came on as the new starting striker.

Haug is expected to play major minutes again as Norway fights for its World Cup life against the Filipinas.

Norway must beat the Filipinas and hope that Switzerland beats New Zealand in Dunedin to progress.

Anything other than a Norway win will knock them out of contention.

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