Norway became the second team to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 2019 Women's World Cup with a penalty shootout win over Australia on Saturday. The score after regulation was 1-1, and the shootout ended 4-1 in favour of the Europeans.
Isabell Herlovsen gave the Norwegians the lead just past the half-hour mark, and the Matildas couldn't find their way back until the 83rd minute, when Elise Kellond-Knight scored directly from a corner kick.
Alanna Kennedy was sent off during the first period of extra time, but Norway couldn't take advantage, as the match went to penalties. Sam Kerr and Emily Gielnik both missed to put Australia in an early hole, and Norway were perfect, with Ingrid Syrstad Engen converting the final penalty.
Germany beat Nigeria 3-0 in the first match of the knockout stages earlier on Saturday. Norway will face the winner of Sunday's clash between England and Cameroon in the next round.
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The Matildas nearly started the match with a bang, as Kerr beat the offside trap and her defender before firing a shot that narrowly missed the target. Hayley Raso was next to go close after a quick one-two with Kerr, but goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth positioned herself well to make the routine save.
Australian football star Tim Cahill liked what he saw:
Kerr continued to be the main source of danger up front, pushing a ball wide after good work out on the wing from Ellie Carpenter, while Caroline Graham Hansen forced Lydia Williams into a save after a poor clearance.
Hansen was the most involved player on the Norwegian side, while Raso was lively for the Matildas. She should have done better on a counter, holding her pass for Kerr too long, by which time the forward had strayed offside.
Australia had the better chances, but Norway took the lead just past the half-hour mark. Defender Steph Catley misjudged a fine through ball from Karina Saevik, giving Herlovsen ample time to place her shot past Williams.
She's been a consistent force on the biggest stage:
Hansen had one more good look on goal, firing a shot wide, before the half ended with controversy. The Matildas were awarded a penalty for a perceived handball on Maria Thorisdottir, but the video assistant referee intervened, showing the ball instead hit her shoulder.
Juventus star Eniola Aluko thought it was a difficult call to make:
The Matildas started the second half on the front foot, with Raso firing wide, but Hansen remained a massive threat, drawing a great save from Williams after a sharp counter.
Kerr thought she had the breakthrough on the hour mark, as she had the ball in the net after a clever run, but the flag went up. Replays confirmed she was indeed offside.
Journalist Melanie Dinjaski couldn't believe it:
Both teams waited to make their first substitutions until the final 20 minutes, gearing up for a hectic finale. Herlovsen's substitution was forced, as the scorer came off with an injury.
Australia desperately needed some luck, and they got it with seven minutes left to play. Kellond-Knight fired a corner into the box, everyone missed the ball completely, and the natural curve of the cross took it past the goal line and into the net for the equaliser.
She picked a great time to score her second goal for the national team:
The final minutes of regulation provided plenty more drama, as the Matildas had another penalty shot turned down by VAR, before Hansen went as close as you can get to finding a winner. Her shot struck the post before bouncing along the goal line, with no one there to tap it home.
Australia were in the ascendancy heading into the first period of extra time, but Williams came up big with two excellent saves.
The turning point of the period came just before its end, when Kennedy was sent off for pulling down Lisa-Marie Utland as the last defender. Cahill felt for the offender:
Norway tried to push their advantage before the end of the period and nearly succeeded, hitting the cross bar just before the final whistle.
The second period saw Australia sit back and try to control the ball, taking all of the pace out of the contest. Norway pushed for a winner but barely mustered any chances, and penalties would have to decide this contest.
Hansen converted the first penalty before Kerr, who had a poor outing, blasted her effort over the bar. Gielnik also missed, while Norway were perfect, winning 4-1 after an epic contest.
Norway next match will be on Thursday in Le Havre. England are expected to be their opponents, but they'll have to get past Cameroon first.