Soccer  

Sarina Wiegman expects more defensive Norway side

Beth Mead celebrates
Beth Mead, who scored a hat-trick the last time England played Norway, has withdrawn from the squad because of family reasons

England manager Sarina Wiegman is expecting to face a “very different” Norway team to the one they demolished 8-0 four months ago at Euro 2022.

The Lionesses will take on Norway on Tuesday in their second friendly in Spain after the 4-0 win over Japan.

Since failing to get out of the group stage at the Euros, Norway have replaced head coach Martin Sjogren with former England interim boss Hege Riise.

“We played really well and they didn’t have a good day,” said Wiegman.

“Now they have changed. They’ve changed coaches, they’ve changed their style of play.

“They’re a little more defensive, put a little more emphasis on their defence. We expect a very different game.”

Norway’s new manager Riise was interim England coach before Wiegman arrived, as well as managing Team GB at the 2020 Olympics, where they reached the quarter-finals.

England extended their unbeaten record under Wiegman to 25 matches with victory over Japan on Friday.

Arsenal forward Beth Mead played in that match but has since withdrawn from the squad because of family reasons, while Barcelona defender Lucy Bronze returned to her club as she has a minor injury.

The Lionesses were already without captain Leah Williamson as well as forwards Fran Kirby and Lauren Hemp for the two games in Murcia.

Wiegman, who saw Everton’s on-loan forward Jess Park score on her debut on Friday, said the absence of some of the team’s star players was “a great opportunity” for the younger players.

“We saw last Friday, with lots of changes – younger players in, some players who had been with the squad a longer time, some new.

“I think they’re finding their way. And it’s good for them and good for us to see where they’re at.”

They will face a Norway side without two of their key players.

Lyon forward Ada Hegerberg remains out with a leg injury, while Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen announced in August she would take a break from international duty because of cardiac problems.

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