This is ruthless. But all we can demand is a victory.


SOS: Caroline Graham Hansen and Vilde Bøe Risa in training on Friday before the 8th final against Australia. In the background Amalie Eikeland, Emilie Nautnes and Guro Reiten. Photo: BJØRN S. DELEBEKK

NICE (VG) If Norway beat Australia at the Allianz Riviera on Saturday night, it's a successful World Cup. With the loss, it failed.

Then, brutally, it can be said in the Nice sun where there is a bubbling climate in the Norwegian camp and Caroline Graham Hansen prepares for the game.

Norway can leave the World Cup after a random goal, it may happen after a great fight after the penalty shootout, but a World Cup defeat does not make sense to explain with 7-3 in scoring chances or 12-5 in kicks to goal

It will never stay in the history books, and it does not help anyway: it's four years until the mistakes can be corrected.

The Norwegian goal is a medal, but it's not just smokers who go wrong in Nice, 20 miles and 21 years, at least one day, from the owner of the Norwegian miracle on Brazil at the 1998 World Cup.

So, after all, it will be goodbye to the Olympics next summer.

HERE MUST: The Allianz Riviera in Nice takes 35,000 people. There, the fate of Norway in the World Cup should be decided. Photo: BJØRN S. DELEBEKK

The three best European countries in the World Cup will be in Tokyo. There is a team from Europe in every 8-step finals. Germany, England and France are clearly favorites in their games, while Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands have good chances, while Spain can hardly resist the USA.

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In many ways, World Cup races are some of the most ruthless sports available. Or it's "win or try again in four years." A mismatch, a goalkeeper, a lost chance, can ruin a whole nation.

– It's harder because we do not have a new opportunity in a long time, we do not have the World Cup every year, as many other athletes did, said Alex Morgan to Fox Sports after the United States defeat to Sweden at the 2016 Olympic Games .

At the same time, a delightful call, a wonderful rescue or a beautiful goal can create folk heroes, and national team coach Martin Sjögren points out that the routines should be the same and players should feel safe even if the games become larger.

LAST INSTRUCTION: Martin Sjögren gives messages Ingrid Syrstad Engen in the last training. Photo: BJØRN S. DELEBEKK

He calls the mental challenge of an "extremely exciting" championship and believes that the players were tired ahead and in the last and disappointing group fight against South Korea. He wanted to clear his head and gave them almost two days of day off. Asked if he is sure that the energy is back, he says: – Yes, I see it in their eyes.

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At the last press conference, on the ground floor of the Allianz Riviera, I asked Sjögren if he was strengthened in believing the goal of winning the medal. He was.

Of course, he can not say any more.

But it spreads calmly. He thrives on the situation, gets more and more comfortable, plays with his children after training and smiles a lot. The players smile a lot. It's not safe Sjögren is safe on the trot of the medal, but it looks and feels safe, and that's much more important.

Threat: Australia's big star Sam Kerr during yesterday's training. Photo: SEBASTIEN NOGIER / EPA

Norway have been waiting four years for the day after a 1-2 loss to England in the eighth final of the World Cup in Canada, and it is by far the same players.

But Australia waited too. They were in the quarterfinals, where they were stopped by a bitter goal in the final minutes against the last finalist of Japan. Nine of the players of the match are in the team now, midfielder Laura Alleway is missing due to injury.

They are called Matildasafter "Waltzing Matilda", known as the unofficial national anthem of Australia, and now, are the official football events of the country.

Unlike Norway, this is Australia's first game at the Allianz Riviera in Nice. Therefore, players were allowed to walk the grass a little more than 24 hours earlier. It did not seem like they thought it was so exciting, and the big star Sam Kerr was not watching.

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She'll be there tonight. Kerr is an extraterrestrial, a rat race in front of the goal, the pace is rare and the way she waved to the 2-0 goal against Jamaica, tells everything about the emotion. Here, the Mjelde / Thorisdottir duo can not fall by tenth.

FORTE DUO: Vilde Bøe Risa (left) and Ingrid Syrstad Engen is literally absolutely central to Australia. Photo: BJØRN S. DELEBEKK

At the same time, the Australian World Cup has been variable. Against Jamaica, it was released with great chances and the match was sloppy. Here, Norway have a chance, and Ingrid Syrstad Engen, ready for Wolfsburg, must do whatever they can: take the lead in the middle.

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She may remember a bit of Ingvild Stensland with her peace and is one of the most important players behind the Norwegian uprising in the last two seasons. When the World Cup now resigns, she has to spend all she can, rely on her skills, do as against the Frenchman Amandine Henry, be fearless.

Journalists from other countries are impressed by "Ing-ridd Eng", and with the energetic Vilde Bøe Risa by his side, Norway has a midfield double that can control this team for many years.

Today they will tie the defense and the game of attack, make Guro Reiten, Isabell Herlovsen and hopefully Caroline Graham Hansen unfold, and at the same time ensure that it works so well defensively that the number of scary Australian posts against Kerr is limited.

It is not a small task, but they are large enough to fix this.

In NICE: Trond Johannessen.

But how is it possible to establish that it will be a successful World Cup if Norway go to the quarterfinals? It is still far from the goal of the medal, and certainly not that it will last for an Olympic place.

Because you can not expect anything more from a team ranked No. 12 in the world, who did not score a point in the European Championship two years ago.

The performance of the World Cup can not be measured with a very difficult internal goal. Players should be commended for putting the list up there, but we others have to look at it right and not complain much about the river. All better than the quarter-finals is a bonus.

Norway are also on the worst side of the table, with three of the world's top four, with England likely to be in the quarter-finals with either the US or France in a possible semi-final.

First, Australia must be defeated.

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