The European Football Championship this summer went without Lisa Naalsund (27) after injuring a strain in Saturday’s match against New Zealand.
This was confirmed by the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) on its website on Sunday afternoon.
– The MRI examination shows a strain injury to the leg, and that the Achilles tendon is intact. Not a serious injury, but serious enough that it unfortunately does not happen at the European Championships. The rehabilitation period will probably be 6-8 weeks, says national team doctor Said Tutunchian.
– Now I am of course very disappointed. Naalsund says I feel in good shape and I was naturally looking forward to the European Championships in England.
– It’s very heavy. This is still the case. First and foremost for the player, says national team manager Martin Sjögren VG.
The Brann player was replaced in the 83rd minute when Norway beat New Zealand in the penultimate test for the European Championship which kicked off on 7 July.
Ten minutes later, he had to be helped by Ullevaal’s treadmill with severe pain in his legs, and he lost with what the European Championship dream had thus ended even before it began.
– Injuries are a big part of football, and unfortunately I was unlucky this time. Naalsund says I will support the girls at home and look forward to returning.
During the 2019 FIFA World Cup, Naalsund was brought in as a replacement when Emilie Haavi broke her cruciate ligament, but due to the rules of the International Football Association (FIFA) she was unable to play matches.
Thus, he was only part of the training group at the time.
– This time he should be well involved. I suffer a lot with Lisa, says Sjögren.
Sjögren himself spoke with Naalsund after the MRI examination on Sunday.
– It’s never fun to have that kind of conversation, says the national team manager.
– Of course he is ashamed. He obviously wanted to go to England. Then we were afraid that the accident could get even worse and that it would go on for a very long time. So at the same time he was relieved that the accident was not more serious.
Now Sjögren and Norway must prepare for a championship without Naalsund as an alternative to midfield.
– It is also a battle of the purely sporting squad. We lost a player with two very good seasons behind him in Brann. Sjögren says he has had more and more time playing with us lately, and he has done very well.
Vålerenga player Thea Bjelde leads to the EC squad.
– He does well in our U23 national team, and he does well there. Sjögren says about Bjelde, he has been with us before and knows us well, he continues:
– It’s a very good replacement for Lisa. Thea covers a lot of space and is physically on an international level. She has certain characteristics similar to Lisa. The choice fell on that we wanted to bring in such a kind of player.
In rehearsals before the European Championships, Norway will play away against Denmark on Wednesday.
The match against Northern Ireland on July 7 begins the championship for Norwegian women’s football, before host nations England (July 11) and Austria (July 15) await later in the group match.