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Norway star's boycott makes life easier for Matildas

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Imagine, if you will, that instead of saying to the critics that they could "go suck on that", Sam Kerr had stared into the camera after the win over Brazil and declared, "You can all go and get stuffed", and announced her immediate retirement from international soccer.

The outcry would be enormous, the storm of protest and howls of anguish long-lasting.


That, in not quite as graphic a fashion, is what happened to Australia's next World Cup opponents Norway a couple of years ago when their biggest star (and the player currently ranked the best in the world) Ada Hegerberg, told her own federation and Norwegian fans that she wouldn't be representing them in the World Cup.

The Matildas may have dodged a big bullet when Kerr's last-gasp goal ensured they finished second, not third, in their group, potentially avoiding a round-of-16 clash with hosts France in Le Havre.

But drawing Norway at this point in their history might be an even greater slice of luck given Hegerberg's refusal to have anything to do with the World Cup as a player for her national team.

Norway finished second to France in group A, beating Nigeria 3-0 and South Korea (in a patchy display in which they got two penalties) 2-1, as well as giving France a fright when losing 2-1 to the hosts and one of the title........

© The Age