2019 Women’s World Cup Qualification (UEFA) – Group 3 round-up

Norway lead the standings after two matches in Group 3.

2019 Women’s World Cup Qualification (UEFA) – Group 3 round-up
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Norway 4-1 Northern Ireland

Group 3 kicked off with a comfortable victory for Norway as they put four past Northern Ireland in their opening World Cup qualifier in Fredrikstad.

Martin Sjögren's side were dominate for long spells, forcing keeper Lauren perry into a foray of saves inside the first half. Despite the resolve though, Norway opened the scoring inside 15 minutes courtesy of a Guro Reiten goal, with Caroline Graham Hansen doubling their lead on the cusp of half-time with a penalty - as Caragh Milligan brought down Kristine Minde inside the area.

Lisa-Marie Utland slotted home the third after the break. Northern Ireland, ranked 60th in the world, pulled one back with a minute to go of normal time as Milligan thought she had grabbed the consolation. But, Norway had other ideas as Reiten sealed the deal with her second in stoppage time.

Norway 6-1 Slovakia

Norway continued their fine form into tuesday night, as they beat Slovakia 6-1 on home turf in Sarpsborg. Sjögren was looking for an injection of success following a dismal performance at the European Championships and his team are certainly off to a very good start going into the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers

The 14th ranked team in the world set the ball rolling from the kick-off, netting two goals inside the first eight minutes. And they certainly weren't finished yet, as Reiten made it three on the 20 minute mark and six minutes later Caroline Graham Hansen got in on the act with a beautifully dinked effort over the Slovakian keeper - following some impressive Norwegian link up play. Succedding penalties from Maren Mjelde and Hansen, Norway went in to the break with a 6-0 lead.

Unfortunately, to the relief of the Slovakian players, it was less of a goal-fest in the second 45 - with the visitors grabbing a consolation goal in the 54th minute to give them something to savour after a thrashing by a revived Norway team.

Northern Ireland 0-2 Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland were beaten for the second time in a week as the Republic of Ireland recorded a well-earned victory - courtesy of goals from Megan Campbell and a Rachel Furness own goal.

The visitors opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time. Campbell's long throw-in's caused issues for the Nothern Ireland defence thoughout the match and the persistance paid off seconds before the half-time whistle, as the Manchester City full-back's set-piece proved the difference as Furness headed into her own goal.

After the break NI keeper Lauren Perry produced some fine saves to deny the Republic a second, however, Campbell was the catalyst once again and beat the 16-year-old in the 69th minute with a long-range dipping effort from outside the area.

But, it wasn't all joy for manager Colin Bell - who was in charge of his first competitive match for the Republic - as Sunderland striker Stephanie Roche was carried off on a stretcher with a knee injury.