Thorisdottir chasing English redemption

Photo : www.fifa.com
www.fifa.com|27-Jun-2019 10:06

-Maria Thorisdottir looking to banish ghost of 2015
-She was part of Norway side that lost to England in Canada
-THE LATEST: #NORENG Live Blog updating now

By Philip O'Connor with Norway

Maria Thorisdottir will be one of many Norwegians with a point to prove when her side take on England in the quarter-final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ on Thursday – she was one of several players in the squad who suffered an agonising 2-1 defeat to the same opponent at the last 16 stage four years ago.

While for England it was one of their finest World Cup victories, for 1995 champions Norway it was one of their lowest ebbs on the global stage.

"I was extremely disappointed, and I still carry it with me - I was young then, but it was extremely tough," Thorisdottir told FIFA.com.

The 26-year-old from Stavanger, who now plays for Chelsea in the FA Women’s Super League, came on as a half-time substitute for captain Trine Ronning, and nine minutes after her introduction, Norway took the lead.

But goals from Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze ended their World Cup dream, and the memory of the final whistle in that game is one of the few things that can temporarily remove Thorisdottir’s near-permanent smile.

“We felt that we had them in the second half and then they scored those two goals,” she recalls, her voice trailing off.

Six of the team that started that game are likely to be in the XI in Le Havre on Thursday and though Thorisdottir says that the whole squad desperately wants to avenge that defeat, they won't be losing their heads in the process.

“It’s about a balance and finding the right level of spark for the situation," Thorisdottir said. "I feel that the training sessions we've had in the lead-up to this game have been very good and that we’re going into the game with a good feeling."

Even though England will see many familiar faces from 2015 on the other side of the field at kick-off, Thorisdottir stresses that a lot has changed in the Norwegian team since the two sides met four years ago.

“The big difference is our sense of togetherness and strength," she said. "We have a way of playing and a structure that we have built over the last two years which is very good. We are stronger on and off the pitch than we were in 2015. Our way of playing allows us to make the odd mistake and gives us the courage to keep possession of the ball. We don’t get stressed and just play it long.”

The 2015 side were convinced that they were going to beat England and Thorisdottir says that they should have been two or three goals up after the first half, but this time it will be different.

“I’ve never had as good a feeling as I have now," she said. "And we haven’t felt this good all the way through this tournament."

The thought of Thursday’s all-or-nothing clash and the chance of redemption brings the smile back to her face.

“Everything bodes well for us right now – let’s hope that that good feeling delivers."