Norwegian star Ada Hegerberg stuns teammates by walking off the pitch seconds before kick-off in Women’s World Cup clash
- Hegerberg walked off the pitch seconds before kick-off against Switzerland
- Amid confusion, the star was replaced by Roma striker Sophie Roman Haug
- After being held to a 0-0 draw, Norway’s World Cup hopes hang by a thread
Norway striker Ada Hegerberg stunned her teammates after walking off the pitch seconds before kick-off in their Women’s World Cup match against Switzerland.
Star striker Hegerberg was named in the starting lineup but pulled out just before the game commenced and walked down the tunnel.
This led to confused looks from her teammates, before Roma striker Sophie Roman Haug was eventually brought on as her replacement.
Hegerberg, who plays club football for French side Lyon, watched on from the bench as Norway could only manage a draw in Hamilton.
Hegerberg stunned her teammates after walking off the pitch just seconds before kick-off
Star striker Hegerberg (pictured) was named in the starting lineup but pulled out just before the game commenced as she headed off the pitch before walking down the tunnel
After the final whistle, Hegerberg said: ‘There was an acceleration just before kick-off that made me feel something. It made me not want to risk anything.
‘I wish I could have contributed, but I think the girls worked hard. We’re missing the last piece that we need and deserved.’
Tweeting to explain why she left the pitch, the 28-year-old said: ‘I felt discomfort when sprinting right after the anthems.
‘We decided with the staff that no risk should be taken and no subs should be wasted in such an important game for us, and we all trusted Sophie, Karina, and the team to do the job, which they did. We move on.’
After being held to a draw, Norway’s World Cup hopes hang by a thread, as they sit bottom of Group A with just one point from their opening two matches and facing an early exit.
Meanwhile, for Switzerland, the goalless draw means they require just a point from their final group game against co-hosts New Zealand to qualify for the knockout stages.
It’s not the first time Hegerberg has pulled out of a World Cup game – though her reasons for doing so previously caused far more controversy.
The former Ballon d’Or winner withdrew from Norway’s squad for the previous instalment of the tournament in France in 2019 as part of a multi-year protest over a perceived lack of respect for female players.
Hegerberg was infamously asked to twerk by French DJ Martin Solveig after she was presented with the Ballon d’Or in December 2018.
DJ Martin Solveig (centre) was at the centre of a sexism row after asking Ada Hegerberg if she could ‘twerk’ as she won the inaugural female Ballon d’Or in December 2018
The striker, who won the women’s Ballon d’Or award, was left unimpressed by the DJ
The Lyon striker is taking a stand over a perceived lack of respect towards female players
Hegerberg was the first female winner of the Ballon d’Or, but refused to play at the 2019 World Cup due to ongoing disagreements with the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) over how women are treated in comparison to men.
In 2017, the NFF signed an agreement on equal pay with the country’s players association but Hegerberg continued her exile.
‘It’s not always about the money,’ she said at the time. ‘There are several changes that would need to be made before I’d evaluate returning.
‘It’s not about me having to change my opinion. It’s about what they (NFF) must do to improve themselves as both a national team and a football federation, first and foremost.
‘They still have a long way to go. There’s not more to say from my side.’
Hegerberg eventually returned to international competition in last year’s European Championship, which ended a self-imposed exile of five years from the national team.