SQUAD

Coach: Eli Landsem has quite a challenge on her hands. The 49-year-old former Norway international is determined to put her national team back at the forefront of women's soccer. Landsem inherited the team in October 2009 and successfully coaxed a number of players out of retirement. Landsem, the first woman to coach the team, wants success in Germany, then the chance to lead Norway to the 2012 London Olympics

Goalkeepers: Ingrid Hjelmseth, Erika Skarbo, Caroline Knutsen

Defenders: Maren Mjelde, Hedda Strand Gardsjord, Trine Bjerke Ronning, Nora Holstad Berge

Midfielders: Marita Skammelsrud Lund, Lisa-Marie Woods, Leni Larsen Kaurin, Guro Knutsen, Gry Tofte Ims, Ingvild Stensland, Madeleine Giske

Forwards: Lene Mykjaland, Emilie Haavi, Isabell Herlovsen, Elise Thorsnes, Cecilie Pedersen

1ST ROUND MATCHES (GROUP D)

  • June 29 — vs. Equatorial Guinea in Augsburg
  • July 3 — vs. Brazil in Wolfsburg
  • July 6 — vs. Australia in Leverkusen

SCOUTING REPORT

Strengths: Even with the retirement of goalkeeper Bente Nordby, Norway has great depth and features many world-class players, including Ane Stangeland, Lene Mykjaland and Ingvild Stensland… Experience: Norway has competed at every World Cup, winning it all in 1995. Defence remains the hallmark of the Norwegian team: they conceded just two goals in the World Cup qualifiers.

Weaknesses: Norway has been drawn into a difficult group that includes Brazil (one of the tournament favourites) and Australia (Asian champions)… Retirement of Solveig Gulbrandsen leaves the team without one of its better midfield creators… Coach Eli Landsem inherited a strong team and there is a lot of pressure on her to build on Norway’s proud tradition of success.

Player to watch: Ingvild Stensland — One of the most effective midfielders in Europe, Stensland is a ferocious tackler and tireless worker. She takes captaincy in her stride and commands respect from teammates and opponents alike. Stensland loves to shoot from long range and her free kicks have produced some spectacular goals.

Prospects in Germany: It will almost certainly start well and get harder. Norway will be expected to win their opener by a wide margin before much tougher games against Brazil and Australia. The retirement of Solveig Gulbrandsen places a question mark over Norway's ability to create from midfield but their World Cup and Olympic Games record suggests a place in the knockout stages is the least we can expect.

  • Soccer Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
  • Current FIFA world ranking: 9
  • Team nickname: Gresshoppene
  • Team colours: red jerseys/white shorts

ROAD TO THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

2011 qualification route: The Norwegians qualified for their sixth straight Women's World Cup via the UEFA playoffs, winning their group and beating Ukraine home and away to secure their passage to Germany. Their 10 qualifying games produced nine wins and a draw — featuring a 14-0 demolition of Macedonia in which Isabell Herlovsen scored six of her nine qualifying goals.

  • Qualification record: 9 wins, 0 losses, 1 tie
  • Goals for: 42
  • Goals against: 2
  • Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Isabel Herlovsen (9)

QUALIFYING RESULTS

  • Oct. 24, 2009 — Norway 3, Netherlands 0
  • Oct. 28, 2009 — Norway 1, Slovakia 0
  • March 27, 2010 — Norway 14, Macedonia 0
  • March 30, 2020 — Norway 5, Belarus 0
  • June 19, 2010 — Norway 2, Netherlands 2
  • June 23, 2010 — Norway 3, Belarus 0
  • Aug. 21, 2010 — Norway 4, Slovakia 0
  • Aug. 25, 2010 — Norway 7, Macedonia 0
  • Sept. 11, 2010 — Norway 1, Ukraine 0
  • Sept. 15, 2010 — Norway 2, Ukraine 0

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP HISTORY

One of the traditional powerhouses of the women's game, Norway captured the World Cup in 1995 and were runners-up in the inaugural tournament in 1991. Since then, the Norwegians haven't found the podium, but have always made it past the group stages, including reaching the semifinals in 1999 and 2007.

  • Hosted the Women's World Cup: Never
  • Number of previous Women's World Cup appearances: 5
  • All-time record: 19 wins, 7 losses, 2 ties
  • Goals for: 75
  • Goals against: 36
  • All-time top scorer: Ann-Kristin Aarones (10)

TRACK RECORD

  • 1991 — Finalists
  • 1995 — Champions
  • 1999 — Semifinals (4th place)
  • 2003 — Quarter-finals
  • 2007 — Semifinals (4th place)