Stronger together: Norway show their pride in the wake of tragedy

An LGBTQ+ pride flag flies high against clouds
A Pride flag flies high in London, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images for LTA)

Norway defeated New Zealand 2-0 in front of more than 12,000 fans at Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo, the day after a terror attack on an LGBTQ+ bar in the city left two dead and 21 injured.

The players wore black and rainbow armbands in tribute to the victims. Both sides also joined hands for a minute’s silence before kick-off.

Many of Norway’s players are openly LGBTQ+ or vocal allies of the community. They were sharing their heartbreak and anger on social media in response to the shooting.

Oslo’s official Pride parade was cancelled as a precaution, but days later, thousands rallied in the city to protest their right to be proud and safe on the streets.

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The match was bittersweet for the home side, as they celebrated the return of captain Maren Mjelde to the squad. The defender suffered a knee injury back in March 2021 while playing for Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Frida Maanum collected her 50th cap for the side, and Anna Jøsendal made her senior national team debut. For New Zealand, second-half substitute Kate Taylor earned her first senior cap at 18 years old.

Ada Hegerberg opened the scoring after 34 minutes, in her third national team appearance since ending a five-year boycott of the Norwegian Football Federation. The striker then lifted a rainbow armband, dedicating the goal to the victims and those affected by the tragedy.

A Norwegian victory

With seconds left to play, a Norway corner kick led to Guro Bergsvand getting herself on the scoresheet. The centre-back found herself unmarked in the box and lashed a powerful volley into the top of the net.

The final score was disappointing for New Zealand, who almost equalised early in the first half before Paige Satchell’s header was ruled offside.

Nevertheless, the Ferns were resolute and fought hard until the end against the Norwegians, who are ranked 11 places above them by FIFA.

The emotional display of solidarity from both teams and the fans in the stadium is a poignant reminder that football is about more than just competition. Players and staff alike continue to use their passion and growing platforms in the women’s game to protest against injustice and push for change.

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