Maren Mjelde's second-half free kick helps Norway tie top-ranked Germany

OTTAWA — Germany's dazzling dribbles and no-look flicks marveled for 45 minutes against Norway, with the women's top-ranked nation looking like the front-runner to win the World Cup.

But the tournament favorites' finishing fizzled after seemingly enjoying themselves a little too much.

Maren Mjelde curled home a superb free kick in the second half as Norway rallied for a 1–1 draw against Germany at Lansdowne Stadium. The European rivals and former world champions both have four points in Group B, with Germany top on goal difference following their 10–0 rout of Ivory Coast.

Germany looked capable of conjuring up another big scoreline during a dominant first half when it out-shot Norway 19-1. But inaccuracy inside the area, plus a drop in intensity after the restart, allowed Norway to claw back into the contest.

• Watch: Mjelde's perfect free kick evens up game vs. Germany

Coach Sylvia Neid dismissed thoughts Germany put emphasis on playing pretty over being clinical.

"I didn't think they were showing off because they were doing tricks. I think they just enjoy playing, they have fun doing what they are doing," Neid said through a translator. "I'm not upset, (but) I would have enjoyed it better if we had scored a goal."

Germany carved up a Norwegian team that looked to be playing catch-up for the first 45 minutes.

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There were impressive runs, deft touches, and slick through-balls, but forwards Celia Sassic and Anja Mittag — both scorers of hat-tricks against Ivory Coast — sprayed a handful of opportunities wide of goal from inside the box. Mittag scored the opening goal after six minutes when she pounced on a loose ball following an error by Norway goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth.

"We lost track of our plan and when you lose track of your opponent the next thing you know its 1–1," said Neid, who added the artificial turf didn't help as the temperature rose in the afternoon on the field.

The draw will not only give Norway a confidence boost but leave it primed to finish second in the group. That would give the Norwegians a match against the second-place team from Group F, which could be England.

Coach Even Pellerud said Norway would not go chasing goals against the Ivory Coast on Monday if it is in a position to win the group.

"That remains to be seen. It's good speculation but only speculation," Pellerud said to a question about whether Norway would prefer finishing second.

"The end result was fair enough. If you look at halftime stats we were lucky. They could have killed this game in the 1st half."


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