Attack is Norway’s best medicine in World Cup, says coach Riise

Norway must attack Switzerland and seize the initiative if they are to claim their first victory at the Women’s World Cup, after failing to live up to their potential in a shock loss to New Zealand, coach Hege Riise said on Monday.

New Zealand upset Norway in the tournament opener where the European side were overwhelming favourites against the co-hosts, who had never before won a World Cup match in 15 attempts.

The defeat left the Scandinavian side third in the group and Riise promised that group toppers Switzerland would face a “different Norway” on Tuesday compared with the disjointed team in the opener.

“We know Switzerland will be a tough game for us. Our focus is to give a better performance and realise our actual potential, which we didn’t show last time,” Riise told reporters.

“Attack is our best medicine. Switzerland may not be a team that frightens many others, but they have good players with individual qualities.

“We became a bit static (against New Zealand). We have talked about this, we’ve looked at footage and we also worked to deal with this during practice. So you will see a more collective Norway tomorrow.”

Norway striker Ada Hegerberg is a force to reckon with when she plays for Olympique Lyonnais, but she has not scored in a major international tournament since 2015, partly due to her self-imposed five-year exile from the national team.

The Ballon d’Or winner has won eight league titles and six Champions League trophies, saying she still puts “a lot of pressure” on herself to perform for her country.

“My focus is solely on how can I prepare to be at my best to serve the team in the best position. I truly think about one thing and it’s to win tomorrow. I’m prepared for what’s to come and I learn a lot from my experience,” Hegerberg said.

“I try to guide with a lot of positivity. It gets very serious in times like this and I think at some point we’ve got to lower the pressure a little bit, try to enjoy football because I know we can perform at a good level.

“We’ve got the quality to perform, so sometimes you’ve got to take it down a bit and try to be sound technically and rely on our strengths.”

Riise also said Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen is fit and available for the match after a bout of illness.

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