Norway reached the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup and eliminated South Korea after scoring a penalty in each half in Reims.
The result also clinched second spot in Group A for the Norwegians behind France, who eventually beat Nigeria, while South Korea go home without a point.
Caroline Graham Hansen found the bottom corner from the penalty spot early on, after West Ham’s Cho So-Hyun had tangled with Chelsea’s Maria Thorisdottir in the box at a corner.
New Barcelona signing Graham Hansen was later caught in the area and this time Isabell Herlovsen struck home from the spot, before Yeo Min-ji turned in a late consolation from close range.
South Korea, who had to win on Monday to have any chance of progressing, have endured three losses out of three for the second time in their three World Cup finals appearances, but Yeo’s goal gave their fans something to celebrate after nearly 260 minutes without a goal.
The main downside to Norway’s relatively solid night was that Graham Hansen had to be withdrawn, hurt after the foul led to their second goal, and they will hope she is fit in time to face the runners-up in Group C in Nice on Saturday.
The 1995 champions, who have featured in all eight editions of this tournament, are through to the knockout stages for a seventh time and look to be among the better-organised sides at the back.
|Teams in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup|
Ranked 12th in the world and two places above South Korea, Martin Sjogren’s side were led by Chelsea’s defensive duo Maren Mjelde and Thorisdottir.
They did well to resist plenty of pressure from South Korea – for whom Chelsea’s Jo So-Yun in midfield was key – before Lee Geum-min’s clever flick found Yeo in the area to turn in for 2-1.
Lee then almost curled in an equaliser, but her effort from a tight angle was well saved by Ingrid Hjelmseth – who also held Ji’s first-half shot from long-range – before Cho headed agonisingly wide in stoppage time.
‘We had a bad day today’
On the knock sustained by Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen, Norway head coach Martin Sjogren told BBC Sport: “We want to have her back. We’ll see how the injury is tomorrow.
“It’s extremely important to get her back but she’s a tough woman and our medical staff are also good people.
“But I believe she will be back. She’s a tough player.”
Graham Hansen said: “I couldn’t continue but the doctors are positive that it will be OK.
“The Koreans played a very good match. They were a lot better than we expected.
“We had a bad day. We have to do better, but I’m so proud we’re going to the [next round] now.”
South Korea coach Yoon Dukyeo: “As head coach I’d like to apologise for not getting the result we expected.
“We’ve had three matches and we’ve seen how the European players have progressed in such a fast manner.
“I hoped that our players could also quickly develop and make progress.
“In order for that to happen we need to make more effort.”
100-up for Minde – stats
- South Korea have lost eight of their 10 Women’s World Cup matches (W1 D1 L8)
- Norway have won their final group stage match in seven of their previous eight Women’s World Cup tournaments (W7 D0 L1), with three of those wins coming against Asian nations – 4-0 v Japan in 1999, 7-1 v South Korea in 2003 and 2-1 v South Korea in 2019.
- Graham Hansen’s opening goal for Norway was the quickest goal scored at this World Cup.
- Norway scored two penalty kicks, only the sixth time a team has netted two-plus spot-kicks in a Women’s World Cup game, but the second at the 2019 edition of the tournament (also Spain v South Africa).
- Kristine Minde made her 100th appearance for Norway, the fifth player in the current squad to hit that milestone.