England suffered a 1-0 loss in Norway on Sunday in their first friendly of 2017, a match played in preparation for the upcoming UEFA Women's European Championship.
Ada Hegerberg scored the only goal in the first half, taking advantage of some poor marking. The Lionesses improved as the match wore on and Norway's top starters were substituted, but despite a spirited effort, England couldn't find an equaliser.
Per the team's official Twitter account, the loss brought an end to a great run for the side:
Our #Lionesses slip to their first defeat in 11 matches as Ada Hegerberg's first-half header gives Norway a narrow win in La Manga. https://t.co/owYjADaHuf2017-1-22 18:49:38
Here's a look at the England starting XI:
#Lionesses: 1⃣ Chamberlain 2⃣ A. Scott 3⃣ Stokes 4⃣ Bronze 5⃣ Houghton 6⃣ Potter 7⃣ Parris 8⃣ Moore 9⃣ Taylor 1⃣0⃣ F. Williams 1⃣1⃣ Duggan2017-1-22 16:05:11
The two sides felt each other out early, with little action taking place in the opening 10 minutes. Norway saw most of the ball and tried to work their way through the English defence by passing, while the Lionesses tried to hit on the counter-attack and used plenty of long balls.
England's Siobhan Chamberlain was forced into an early save, as Hegerberg found some space on the edge of the box but couldn't direct her shot on target.
The hosts continued their dominance, and a corner caused some trouble inside the box before it was worked out for another set piece. Chamberlain intervened to deal with the danger the second time around.
On the other side of the pitch, Nikita Parris went close, firing a shot just wide of the post. Demi Stokes did plenty of damage out wide, and as the half wore on, the visitors improved.
The better chances kept falling to Norway, however, and they deservedly took the lead through the Hegerberg sisters. Andrine found Ada with a great free-kick, and somehow England left the latter completely unmarked to convert, per sports writer Glenn Moore:
Glenn Moore @GlennMoore7
@England #lionnesses 1-0 down in La Manga to Norway, goalscorer Uefa PoY Ada Hegerberg, from a good set-piece. Norway marginally better side2017-1-22 17:30:07
Toni Duggan almost hit back immediately, curling a shot just past the far post from a great position. Stokes kept bombarding the box, but her crosses failed to clear the last line of defence.
Ada Hegerberg remained the primary target for seemingly every cross, and she drew another great save from Chamberlain when the defence once again allowed her too much space. England's Lucy Bronze also went close, firing over after an attack over multiple stations.
Per the team's official Twitter account, the ball took a deflection and might have gone in if it hadn't:
43: A decent chance fell to @LucyBronze but her 12-yard shot was deflected over for a corner. Norway 1-0 #Lionesses.2017-1-22 17:45:25
That would be the final chance of the half, as England trailed 1-0.
By the start of the second half, the temperature had dropped dramatically, but that didn't seem to hamper the Lionesses. Jodie Taylor went close to scoring almost immediately, pushing a cross wide with her shin.
On the other side of the pitch, Chamberlain once again showed her class to deal with a free-kick from Ada Hegerberg.
England kept pushing, but a series of knocks to both teams took the momentum out of the match, with doctors coming on twice inside two minutes. Substitute Ellen White claimed for a penalty after some minor contact in the box, and Duggan was booked for complaining about the decision not to award it.
Girls on the Ball agreed with the non-call:
Girls on the Ball @GirlsontheBall
Would have been a soft one in my opinion. 0-1 #gotblive2017-1-22 18:23:30
Duggan went close shortly after, while on the other side of the pitch, a wayward cross clipped the post. White had another attempt from outside the box, firing wide, while Norway struggled to close down runners into the box.
A series of corners produced some danger, with Duggan causing some trouble with her fine deliveries, and Steph Houghton drew a save with a strong header.
Three minutes of added time led to more pressure and half-chances, but the hosts held on to their lead.
The Lionesses' next outing will be on Tuesday against Sweden.