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FIFA WWC: Norway sink Australia in penalty shootout to reach last eight

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Norway beat Australia 4-1 on penalty kicks to reach the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2007 on Saturday in Nice.

But this was after a highly-entertaining 1-1 draw which both sides could only end up with after extra time play.

Norway’s Isabell Herlovsen opened the scoring shortly after the half hour.

But Elise Kellond-Knight’s goal direct from a corner kick seven minutes from time sent the game into extra time ——- during which Australia’s Alanna Kennedy was sent off.

Australia missed their first two kicks in the penalty shootout and Ingrid Syrstad Engen buried the winning kick to send Norway through.

They will face either England or Cameroon in the quarter-finals for a place in the last four.

“I’m really contented with how we handled all this pressure and stress,” Norway coach Martin Sjogren told a news conference later.

Australia coach Ante Milicic was understandably devastated for his team.

“I don’t know if there are any words to describe how I’m feeling but, more importantly, how the girls are feeling,” he said.

Australia set a high tempo from the start and went close in the opening minute when Sam Kerr collected a through ball from Caitlin Foord and fired just wide.

UBA Wise savers

But it was Norway who found the back of the net first as Karina Saevik played Herlovsen in and the striker finished clinically in the 31st minute.

There had to be VAR action and it happened five minutes from the interval when a ball bounced off Maria Thorisdottir’s shoulder.

Referee Riem Hussein awarded Australia a penalty kick, but it was a decision that was overturned after a three-minute VAR review.

For all their slick passing, the Matildas proved quite toothless in the area, having managed only a single shot on target by the hour mark.

But Kellond-Knight sent a corner kick straight into the far corner of the net with seven minutes left to send the game to extra time.

It was only her second goal in 110 appearances for her country.

Caroline Hansen’s fierce shot was tipped over the bar by Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams in the 99th minute as both teams attacked relentlessly.

Kennedy was then shown a straight red card for bringing down Lisa-Marie Utland as she rushed towards goal.

Vilde Risa attempted a long-range lob that landed on the crossbar as Australia struggled physically but they hung on for dear life to force the shootout

Kerr and Emily Gielnik missed the first two attempts and Norway kept cool heads to book their place in the last eight.

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