Hege Riise has been tabbed as the next head coach of the Norwegian women’s national team, the Norwegian Football Association announced on Wednesday.

“Being able to lead Norway’s A national team is the greatest,” said Riise in a release. “I am proud and happy to be trusted to lead the team. I am really looking forward to taking on the challenge.”

She replaces Martin Sjögren, who stepped down from the position following Norway’s early exit from Euros, during which the team lost 8-0 to eventual champions England.

A former midfielder for Norway, she was named world player of the year in 1995 and won an Olympic gold medal, World Cup and European Championship during her time with Norway. Through 188 international appearances – which still ranks as the most all-time in Norwegian national team history – she notched 58 goals.

She was named the best Norwegian female footballer of all-time in 2003.

Following her playing career, Riise took up coaching. She coached in the Norwegian league with LSK Kvinner, winning six consecutive titles until 2017.

An assistant coach for the USWNT from 2009 until 2012, she helped guide the team to a World Cup final appearance in 2011 and Olympic gold in 2012. Following Phil Neville’s departure in January 2021, Riise served as interim head coach of the Lionesses, who later hired Sarina Wiegman. She led the team during the Tokyo Olympics, leading them to a Group E win and a knockout round appearance.

“We are proud to be able to present a new national team manager who can boast incredible results both as a player and coach, and who knows better than anyone the competition that meets us out there,” said Norwegian FA president Lise Klaveness.

Following her departure from England, Riise took over as the U19 coach for Norway. She will now lead the senior team for the first time, helping to prepare the team for World Cup qualification in September.

“It will be hectic, but we will use the time now to prepare for the first matches,” said Riise. “Everyone understands what those games mean. Our starting point is good with group leadership and I expect that there will be a group eager for revenge after the [European Championship exit]. As I understand it, there is still a good atmosphere in the player group.”

She will be joined by Monica Knudsen and Ingvild Stensland as assistant coaches. Jon Knudsen will step in as the goalkeeper coach.

Ada Hegerberg wasted no time making her presence felt in her return to the Norwegian national team, scoring a hat trick in the team’s 5-1 win over Kosovo in World Cup qualifying.

She scored her first goal with the national team in five years in the 21st minute, then scored her second mere two minutes later. At the 60-minute mark she completed the hat trick.

Frida Maanum and Celin Bizet Ildhusøy also found their way onto the score sheet.

Erëleta Memeti scored the lone goal of the game for the Dardanians.

Hegerberg, who won the first ever Ballon d’Or Feminin in 2018, tweeted after the match the she “couldn’t have dreamed of a better comeback.”

“As Norwegian as it gets,” she wrote.

With the hat trick, Hegerberg now has 41 goals through 67 appearances with the national team, ranking ninth all-time amongst Norwegian goalscorers. Isabell Herlovsen, who played from 2005 through 2019 and recorded 133 caps, sits first with 67 goals.

Hegerberg last played for the national team in 2017 before stepping away in protest over the treatment of women’s soccer in the country in comparison to the men’s game. As a result, she missed the 2019 World Cup.

The 26-year-old plays for Olympique Lyonnais in France. She’s been out for the better part of the past two seasons due to injury. After rupturing her ACL in January 2020, she suffered a stress fracture in her left tibia that September. She finally made her return to the game in October 2021 after 20 months away.

In late March, she was included on the Norwegian roster that was named by coach Martin Sjogren. She said then that it felt “incredibly good” to be back.

“I will do my part to help us achieve great things, both on and off the field—for football, for Norway, but not least for the next generation,” she said at the time.

Norway Football Federation president Lise Klaveness delivered an impassioned speech at Thursday’s 72nd FIFA Congress in Doha, in which she condemned the 2010 decision to award Qatar the hosting duties for the 2022 men’s World Cup.

Klaveness, a longtime member of the Norwegian women’s national team, was elected earlier this month as the NFF’s first female president in its 120-year history.

In her address, she pointed out Qatar’s human rights failures. “The World Cup was awarded by FIFA in unacceptable ways with unacceptable consequences,” she said.

Drawing on her own experience as a footballer, Klaveness also specifically called on FIFA to advance the women’s game.

“There is no room for employers who do not secure the freedom and safety of World Cup workers. No room for leaders that cannot host the women’s game,” Klaveness said. “No room for hosts that cannot legally guarantee the safety and respect of LGBTQ+ people coming to this theatre of dreams.”

The Qatar World Cup’s top organizer, Hassan Al Thawadi, responded to Klaveness at the event, saying she “made no request for a meeting” upon visiting the country.

“I urge everybody, we have always been open for dialogue. We have always welcomed constructive criticism, criticism that is based on discussion, understanding the issues and understanding the context of the issues and the progress of the facts on the ground,” Thawadi said.

According to a Human Rights Watch report, “abuse and exploitation of the [Qatar’s] large migrant workforce persisted in 2021 despite the introduction of labor reforms.” The Human Rights Watch report also noted that women continue to face “severe discrimination and violence.”

Ada Hegerberg is back with the Norwegian national team, ending a five-year absence.

Hegerberg quit the national team in 2017, protesting the treatment of women’s soccer in the country in comparison to the men. One year later, she won the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or. Widely regarded as one of the game’s best players, she’s also been named UEFA’s Best Women’s Player in Europe (2016) and BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year (2017, 2019).

The 26-year-old currently plays for Olympique Lyonnais in France and has been out for the better part of the past two seasons due to injury, first a ruptured ACL in January 2020 and then a stress fracture in her left tibia that September. She spent 20 months away from the game, returning in October 2021.

On Thursday, she was included on the roster named by coach Martin Sjogren for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Poland next month.

“It feels incredibly good to be back,” Hegerberg said. “I will do my part to help us achieve great things, both on and off the field—for football, for Norway, but not least for the next generation.”

Prior to her departure from the national team, Hegerberg made 66 appearances, scoring 38 goals.

In addressing her return, Sjogren called her “one of the best” in the world, adding that her return means “a lot to the national team.”

“For the most part, we have talked about how we see the future together and not what has happened,” he said. “It was mostly to do with Ada’s role and how we can make the team even better. The conversations have been very good.”

Norway currently sits atop Group F for World Cup qualifying with 16 points through six games. Having already qualified for the 2022 European Championships in July, they will face off against Northern Ireland, England and Austria on the group stage.