Caroline Graham Hansen says she feels she has been “stepped on for a whole year” after being dropped for Norway’s World Cup group stage draw with Switzerland.

The Barcelona winger started her side’s defeat to New Zealand in their opening group game but was named among the substitutes for Tuesday’s 0-0 draw against Switzerland.

Graham Hansen was introduced in the 57th minute at Waikato Stadium to win her 100th senior cap but could not prevent Norway from drawing a blank for a second successive match.

“It’s tough, I don’t know what I can say,” Graham Hansen told ViaPlay at full time. “There’s not much I can say, I feel like I’m standing here with my hands tied.

“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).

Speaking to TV2, the two-time Champions League winner continued: “Nothing comes for free in life, but I thought I had earned a certain amount of respect, but maybe that wasn’t the case.”

The 28-year-old took a break from the national team for health reasons in August — shortly after Hege Riise was appointed as Norway’s new head coach — having been treated for a cardiac problem in November 2021.

She returned to the fold ahead of the World Cup but was dropped to the bench for Tuesday’s fixture alongside club team-mate Ingrid Syrstad Engen and Manchester City’s Julie Blakstad. Ada Hegerberg was also missing from the starting XI after sustaining a groin injury moments before kick-off.

Riise defended her decision to drop Graham Hansen.

“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,” Riise said.

“All players want to start matches. I reached the decision in the best interest of my team and I defend my decision today.”

Norway sit bottom of Group A with one point from two matches but can still qualify for the round of 16 with victory over the Philippines in their final group game.



Caroline Graham Hansen, the quiet hero of Barca Femeni’s Champions League run

(Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

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