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Swedish head coach looking for glory with Norway

Norway Head Coach Martin Sjögren (Photo: Getty Images)
by Karl Sundstrom, AIPS Young Reporter, Sweden

UTRECHT, July 16, 2017 - Ever since 1978 – when the Norwegian women’s national team played their historic first game – a Norwegian coach has been in charge.

But, at the end of 2016, the federation decided it was time for something else. In came Sweden's Martin Sjögren, a successful coach with three gold medals in the Damallsvenskan first division.

On a cloudy day in the Dutch university town Utrecht he underwent a media examination ahead of the Opening Match of UEFA Women's EURO 2017 against hosts Netherlands.

Sjögren said: "Since we started this process in January we have been taking steps forward. But for now the most important thing is to get a result in the championship. We have to perform at a high standard and at a high level and if we do that we have a good chance to get a good result."

With Lars Lagerbäck in charge of the men’s national team this means that Norway, for the first time, have a Swedish head coach for both senior teams.

Norway will not be fazed by playing in front of a sell-out crowd at Utrecht's Stadion Galgenwaard.

Sjögren said: "We are not intimidated by having such a big crowd. It’s OK to be a bit nervous. But we have to look at it the other way around and see the positive things about playing in front of 24,000 people."

The Norwegian squad is a mix of experienced and less experienced players. A few of them, such as sisters Andrine and Ada Hegerberg, are known worldwide. Sjögren hopes that the more experienced players will play an important role around the opening test.

He said: "I have high hopes for the players with more experience from championships to calm down the ones who have not been to championships before."

Maren Mjelde was on the pitch when Germany beat Norway in the 2013 Euro final. For her the championship was a huge individual success, rewarded with a place in UEFA's squad of the tournament. Since then she has moved on and now plays an important role at English giants Chelsea.

Mjelde said: "I am feeling good, the stadium looks really good and the pitch is good. So I am looking forward to tomorrow."

Follow Karl Sundström on Twitter @sundstrom_karl

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