Austria Advance as Norway Suffer Group Stage Exit


A first-half header by forward Nicole Billa helped Austria beat two-time European champions Norway 1-0 in the Women’s Euros on Friday and advance to the quarter-finals, where they will face Group B winners Germany.

Well-organised Austria, who are playing at their second Euros, challenged the lack of defensive shape from Norway and progressed to the knockout stage in place of some of Europe’s finest players.

Irene Fuhrmann’s side were inches away from opening the scoring early through Laura Feiersinger but Norway goalkeeper Guro Pettersen, who produced a number of brilliant saves throughout the game, parried the ball onto the bar.

The 2017 semi-finalists had another opportunity in the 34th minute when forward Billa shot from close range, but Pettersen, who was receiving treatment a few moments before, made another great save.

However, Billa made no mistake three minutes later when completely unmarked, she nodded home to give Austria the deserved lead after being set up by defender Verena Hanshaw.

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Lower-ranked Austria, who picked up their first points with a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland after their opening loss to hosts England, had never beaten two-time winners Norway on any of the five previous occasions.

Norway have now lost six of their last seven Euros finals matches and recorded back-to-back group stage exits in the tournament for the first time, having lost all their group games in the Netherlands last time out.

Group winners England, who were the first side to book a place in the quarter-finals following their record 8-0 win against Norway on Monday, beat Northern Ireland 5-0 in the other match in Group A.

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