After a five-year absence from the Norwegian national team, Ada Hegerberg marked her return to the international game in epic style as she recorded a hat trick in a lopsided 5-1 win over Kosovo in UEFA Women's World Cup qualifiers. Fans can watch UEFA Women's World Cup qualifiers live and on demand with Paramount+.
Hegerberg stepped away from the national team in 2017 citing a lack of respect for women's soccer players in Norway, and won the first ever Ballon D'or award in women's soccer history in 2018.
The striker has played with French Division 1 side Olympique Lyonnais since 2014 and has won several domestic titles and was a part of Lyon's dynastic UEFA Women's Champions League title run – winning the tournament five consecutive times.
Now the 26-year-old forward is back with Norway, and she wasted little time making an impact in her first international match since her long absence. Hegerberg headed a crossed ball from Caroline Graham Hansen near the far post for her first goal. She found the back of the net just two minutes later on the ground from inside the penalty box.
She completed her three-goal day at the hour-mark, running on a ball in front of Kosovo goalkeeper Florentina Kolgeci and slotting it through the keeper's legs.
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Three goals in 60 minutes is not too shabby. Hegerberg spoke about her return to the national team with CBS Sports' Attacking Third podcast to discuss ending her five-year absence from international duty, and how former player Lise Klaveness, who's now the FA chief, helped her through the process.
"I'm gonna be honest, I felt it was time. This is not a decision that was made during the night," Hegerberg said. "There's been a process behind it, obviously I was far away from the pitch for a while and got to step aside and reflect on things. There has been a process, especially with Lise Klaveness, the president of the federation, and she reached out to discuss the whole situation. I felt like I was talking more to an ex-colleague.
"Lise wasn't part of the federation back in 2017, so I kind of felt like I had a space where I could talk very freely about the situation -- and I just really want to get back there and connect with the next generation. Young girls, young boys. I want to be back with the team to represent my country and I just missed that, and felt that now is the time."
UEFA world cup qualifiers will continue for Norway on April 12, where the team will face Poland at Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo, Norway.