Caroline Graham Hansen, one of the best players in the world, was dropped by Norway following a disappointing 1-0 loss to New Zealand in the Women’s World Cup.
She returned to the Norwegian team in time for the World Cup, but things didn’t go as planned. Norway lost their opening match 1-0 to New Zealand.
The manager decided to remove her, alongside another Barcelona teammate, Ingrid Syrstad Engen, from the lineup for the second match. Manchester City’s Julie Blakstad was also benched,
Graham Hansen and Syrstad Engen came on as substitutes, while Blakstad was unused. Regardless, neither the new starters nor the substitutes could get a goal for Norway as they drew with Switzerland, leaving their chances hanging by a thread.
“It’s tough, I don’t know what I can say. There’s not much I can say, I feel like I’m standing here with my hands tied,” Graham Hansen said after the match.
“I feel I have been stepped on for a whole year – everyone says all the time that we have to stand together as a team and as a nation, but I feel I’ve been on the receiving end [of a raw deal],” she added.
“Nothing comes for free in life, but I thought I had earned a certain amount of respect, but maybe that wasn’t the case.”
“Caroline is entitled to be frustrated and to express an opinion, but since I arrived in this position I have always said the team is the most important thing,” Norway manager Hege Riise said in response.
“All players want to start matches. I reached the decision in the best interest of my team and I defend my decision today.”