Martin Odegaard slams Ada Hegerberg's Women's World Cup absence

Norway won their Women's World Cup opener in the absence of Ada Hegerberg, who came under fire from compatriot Martin Odegaard.

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Ada Hegerberg holds the Ballon d’Or Feminin, which she was awarded with last year.   -  Getty Images

Martin Odegaard said the Norway women's team "deserves better" in scathing criticism aimed at Ballon d'Or-winning striker Ada Hegerberg following her decision not to play at the Women's World Cup.

Hegerberg has not represented Norway for the last two years and explained her reasons for not making herself available for the tournament in France, saying her experience at the 2017 European Championship left her "broken mentally", while criticising the state of women's football in Norway.

She described how playing for her country had left her feeling like "a worse player" but Vitesse midfielder Odegaard fired Hegerberg a broadside in a message on Instagram.

READ | Why the world's best player Ada Hegerberg has ditched Women's World Cup 2019

"Maybe you could find something better to do than to disturb the preparations of the national team for the World Cup," said Odegaard, who spent last season on load at Vitesse.

"They have qualified on behalf of our country, one of the most important things that a soccer player can experience, and they have already received enough negative pressure.

"It's not the time. The team deserves something better."

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Norway became the first nation in world football to pay their male and female players equally in the aftermath of Hegerberg's withdrawal.

In her absence, Martin Sjogren's side got off to a superb start at the World Cup, beating Nigeria 3-0 courtesy of goals from Guro Reiten, Lisa-Marie Utland and Osinachi Ohale.

Sjogren praised the link-up play between Reiten and Caroline Hansen in his assessment of the game as he hailed his team's ability to challenge for the World Cup without Hegerberg.

"We have these players we have, and we've worked so hard as a group to grow stronger every time we meet," said Sjogren.

"Caroline and Guro have been very good for us for a long time so I am not surprised these two made such a great performance."

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