PREVIEW: Norway v The Philippines – FIFA Women’s World Cup Team News, Predicted Lineups and Where to Watch

This really is a tale of two countries: one has qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup – winning one in 1995 – while other is playing in the tournament for the first time ever. It should then be a formality which side would perform better, and yet it’s the World Cup debutants that hold the cards.

Norway take on the Philippines this Sunday at Eden Park, and it promises to be a clash for the ages. Norway find themselves on the verge of failing to progress from the group stage of yet another major tournament, as the Grasshoppene suffered this very fate at last year’s European Championships and will be looking for victory in Auckland to avoid repeating it.

Even if Norway progress, their disappointing start has already sown doubts of their ability to go far in the tournament. Losing their opening match to co-hosts New Zealand kickstarted these concerns, as many believed they should have won. Hege Riise responded to the disappointing result by completing changing Norway’s attacking trio in their following match against Switzerland. Only coming away with a point, it was yet another poor result that cast them deeper into the difficult position they find themselves in ahead of Sunday’s final group stage match.

Even if Norway win on Sunday, they would need New Zealand to lose against Switzerland to guarantee qualification. If they beat the Philippines by two goals or more, they could qualify with a better goal difference – if New Zealand draw against Switzerland. If New Zealand win, Norway will be hoping for a large margin of victory to reduce the Swiss’s goal difference so that they can progress in their place. Anything less than victory for the Grasshoppene, irrespective of other results would have them packing their bags – the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The Filipinas’ first foray into the FIFA Women’s World Cup has surely already exceeded all their expectations. Tuesday’s match saw Sarina Bolden score their first ever goal in the tournament to seal their first win on the global stage – so it’s fair to say that history has already been made, and yet it beckons for more to be written this Sunday. The Philippines are a win away from progressing to the knockout stage, which is more than can be said for most of their fellow World Cup debutants.

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While they started their campaign poorly by losing to Switzerland, the Filipinas never lost hope in their game plan going into their next match against New Zealand. With an unchanged lineup from their opener, Alen Stajcic, had faith that his players’ talent would be able to conquer the Football Ferns.

While the co-hosts dominated the match for large parts of the match, the Filipinas held strong to score from a set-piece against the run of play. The question now is whether Stajcic will remain faithful to his tactics and set up in the same way, or will he make changes to keep their opponents guessing?

While they’re in a more comfortable position than Norway, victory is still essential to guarantee progression for the Philippines. If they accomplish that, the Philippines will progress to the knockout stage regardless of other results in the group. If they can only draw, the Philippines need New Zealand to lose in order to progress. Even if Stajcic’s side lose, the Filipinas could still qualify – if New Zealand lose heavily to Switzerland. There’s still work to do for the Philippines, but they will surely relish the opportunity to make history this Sunday.

New Zealand will host the final matches to conclude Group A, with Switzerland playing the Football Ferns at Dunedin Stadium simultaneously with this clash at Eden Park. Both Norway and the Philippines will be keeping a close eye on the concurrent match, with the hope the result favours them. Victory is the most either can do to ensure any chance of progression to the knockout stage.

Can Norway finally find their form and fight their way back into this tournament, or will the Philippines provide another shocking twist to the tale? It’s all happening this Sunday in Auckland!

Team News

Ada Hegerberg will be missing for Norway, with the striker still recovering from an apparent muscle strain picked up in the final minutes of the team’s warmup ahead of the Swiss clash. Vilde Bøe Risa is expected to maintain her spot in midfield, after disappointing performances from Ingrid Engen thus far.

Predicted Lineups

Norway: Mikalsen; Bjelde, Mjelde, Harviken, Hansen; Maanum, Bøe Risa, Reiten; Graham Hansen, Haavi, Eikeland

The Philippines: McDaniel; Barker, Long, Beard, Harrison; Sawicki, Cowart, Eggesvik, Quezada; Bolden, Guillou

Where can I watch?

Kick-off at Eden Park is scheduled for 8:00am on Sunday, 30th July 2023. The coverage will begin at 7:50am on BBC iPlayer. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.