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Ballon d’Or winner Hegerberg will not play in Women’s World Cup

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup will be absent the first Ballon d’Or winner as Norway left Ada Hegerberg of its squad for this summer’s tournament.

Hegerberg has been absent from the Norwegian national team since 2017 as a protest for how female players are treated in her home country. The Norwegian Football Association struck a new deal with players just months after her protest began that nearly doubled the available funds for player salaries, but she has yet to relent.

In February, Norway head coach Martin Sjogren confirmed he offered her a place in the team, saying “We tried to solve it, we had meetings, but she decided not to play.” The move was confirmed on Thursday with her absence from their official World Cup squad.

Hegerberg’s older sister Andrine, who plays for PSG and has 17 national team caps, was also absent from the squad.

Hegerberg is one of the world’s most decorated players for her age, having already won the Champions League three times at just 23 years old. She has 129 goals for Olympique Lyonnais in just 103 appearances, and will play for a fourth Champions League title on May 18. Hegerberg earned 66 caps for the Norwegian national team before stepping away. She won the inaugural Ballon d’Or on the women’s side after the award was extended to a male and female presentation, and was infamously asked to twerk by presenter and DJ Martin Solveig, seemingly adding fuel to her fight against gender discrimination.

Ballon d’Or winner refuses pleas to join World Cup squad

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Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg is sticking to her principles despite the urging of her country.

The Norwegian star, 23, will not be joining her national team for this summer’s World Cup in an ongoing protest of the treatment of women’s soccer players in her country.

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Norwegian manager Martin Sjogren says the federation tried to find a fix for the player, but Hegerberg was unmoved from the position which has kept her away from NT duty since 2017.

Norwegian football has signed an equal pay agreement since Hegerberg left the team. Here’s Sjogren From the BBC:

“As a coach, you need to focus on the players who want to be a part of the team and Ada doesn’t. We respect that and we have been working hard with the other players and they have been doing a great job.”

Hegerberg made her international debut at 16, and has 38 goals in 66 caps. The Lyon star has a robust 246 goals in 244 club appearances, including a 54-goal season in 2015-16.

Is there a chance for a late change of heart? Norway is in a group with Nigeria, South Korea, and hosts France.

EURO qualifying: A pair of 3-3 draws, feat. 3 stoppage-time goals

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A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in 2020 European Championship qualification…

[ MORE: Report: Solskjaer to be named new United boss this week ]

Italy 6-0 Liechtenstein

Italy thrashed Liechtenstein on the back of two penalty kicks converted by Fabio Quagliarella (35th and 45th minutes), along with individual tallies from Stefano Sensi (17th), Marco Veratti (32nd), Moise Kean (70′) and Leonardo Pavoletti (76th).

With two victories from two games, and a +8 goal difference now in tow, Italy sit perched high atop Group J. With two sides set to qualify from the six-team group, it’s just about impossible to conjure up a scenario in which the Azzurri don’t qualify with more than a couple qualifiers still remaining.

Malta 0-2 Spain

Alvaro Morata bagged a brace (31st and 73rd minutes) to help Spain to a comfortable, if slightly labored, victory over Malta. Spain enjoyed a healthy 80 percent of possession and out-shot Malta by a margin of 23-2 (7-1 on target).

The only side with six points from their first two games, Spain lead Group F by two points over Sweden.

Switzerland 3-3 Denmark

The game of the day.

Remo Freuler put Switzerland ahead after 19 minutes. It would stay that way until the final 25 minutes, when a massive explosion of goals saw the game quickly get out of hand, in the most unimaginable of ways.

Granti Xhaka made it 2-0 in the 66th, and Breel Embolo made it 3-0 in the 76th. That was it, the game was over, done and dusted, right? Wrong.

Mathias Jorgensen brought Denmark back to 3-1 in the 84th, followed by Christian Gytkjaer in the 88th for 3-1. Deep into stoppage time — as in, three minutes deep — Henrik Dalsgaard completed the comeback with a header to clean up a mad scramble of failed headed clearances inside the penalty area.

Norway 3-3 Sweden

While also a six-goal thriller with stoppage-time drama, Sweden’s comeback was only from 2-0 down.

Bjoern Maars Johnsen (41st) and Joshua King (59th) established the lead just before the hour mark, and everything was going exactly to play for Norway. That remained the case until the 70th minute, when scored Viktor Claesson from open play. Norway scored again in the 86th minute, only Havard Nordtveit put the ball into his own net, which drew the Swedes level.

Robin Quaison gave Sweden the lead in the 91st minute, surely sealing all three points in a memorable comeback, right? Wrong again. Ola Kamara’s 96th-minute equalizer meant a 3-3 draw that neither side would be happy with, nor particularly dissatisfied.

Elsewhere in EURO 2010 qualifying

Group D

Ireland 1-0 Georgia

Group F

Romania 4-1 Faroe Islands

Group J

Bosnia & Herzegovina 2-2 Greece
Armenia 0-2 Finland

Report: LA sells $3.5M Kamara to Chinese Super League side

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The LA Galaxy have reportedly offloaded one of their big names, though it isn’t one of their problematic four Designated Players.

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Reports say that the Galaxy have sold Norwegian star striker Ola Kamara to Chinese Super League club Shenzhen FC for $3.5 million.

Kamara, 29, scored 49 goals in three seasons between the Galaxy and Columbus.

He joins fellow Norwegian national teamer and longtime Rosenborgs and Saint-Etienne midfielder Ole Kristian Selnæs on the books of Shenzhen, whose season begins Saturday morning.

Whoops! Man Utd site, prime minister of Norway congratulate Solskjaer

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems set to be the interim manager of Manchester United.

Just ask the Queen of Norway.

The 45-year-old Molde manager and longtime United striker has been linked with a return to the club in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s departure, and both the club and the prime minister of Norway have confirmed and deleted the news.

[ MORE: Leicester 1-1 (1-3 pens) Man City]

First, United put up a video celebrating “new interim manager” Solskjaer arriving “20 years after scoring THAT goal at the Camp Nou.”

It was later deleted, as was Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg’s Tweet congratulating Solskjaer on his new job.

Solskjaer had a rough ride at Cardiff City between his two stints at Molde, the club that launched him into his tenure as a player at Old Trafford. He won the Tippeligaen twice in his first three season there, but has yet to find the same success since returning in 2015.