Ada Hegerberg, the Norway star and former Ballon d’Or winner, responded to FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s comments that women needed to “convince us men” to do “what we have to do.”

Infantino was asked about gender equality while addressing the media ahead of Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final between England and Spain, citing his four daughters in the discussion.

“I say to all the women — and you know I have four daughters, so I have a few at home — that you have the power to change,” he said. “Pick the right battles. Pick the right fights. You have the power to change. You have the power to convince us men what we have to do and what we don’t have to do. Just do it. With men, with FIFA, you’ll find open doors. Just push the doors.”

Players from multiple national teams that competed in the Women’s World Cup — including finalists Spain — have been in disputes with their federations over pay and unequal treatment. FIFA was set to pay players for their participation in the 2023 World Cup, but Infantino later clarified that the money would be doled out to federations under guidance to give it to players.

On Friday, Hegerberg hit back at Infantino’s comments, writing sarcastically on X that she was “working on a little presentation to convince men. Who’s in?”

Infantino added that FIFA was striving for equal pay between the men’s and women’s World Cups, but noted that it wouldn’t fix every issue.

“Equal pay at the World Cup? We are going in that direction already,” he said. “But that would not solve anything. It might be a symbol, but it would not solve anything, because it’s one month every four years and it’s a few players out of the thousands and thousands of players.

“We have to start treating women and men in the same way. Push the doors with FIFA, and do it at national level in every country, at continental level in every confederation, just keep pushing, keep the momentum going, keep dreaming, and let’s really go for a full equality.”

Hegerberg historically has been vocal about federations’ lack of respect for their women’s teams. The 2018 Ballon d’Or award winner famously skipped the 2019 World Cup and refused to play for Norway in protest over unequal treatment from the federation. The NFF agreed to pay their men’s and women’s teams equally in 2017, but Hegerberg held out until other demands were met.

This summer, she has continued to be an advocate for other nations in disputes with their federations. Jamaica and South Africa, in particular, had success on the field despite fighting for funding.

“More and more teams are here to show their best, and it’s tighter,” Hegerberg said. “You can see it from both sides: Are the best teams evolving in the right direction? But you see that smaller nations are coming up and are doing great work, putting their spirit into it, and it’s great to see.

“I really hope it gives more nations more opportunities and more and more federations follow, because I know there are many nations that need more following and more respect from their federations.”

Norway star Caroline Graham Hansen has apologized for lashing out at head coach Hege Riise but stood by her frustration over her benching in Tuesday’s scoreless draw with Switzerland at the World Cup.

A regular in the starting lineup for Norway, Graham Hansen was brought on as a second-half substitute Tuesday. After the match, which ended in a disappointing draw for the Group A favorite, Graham Hansen voiced her frustrations in a TV interview.

“It’s tough, I don’t know what I can say. There’s not much I can say, I feel like I’m standing here with my hands tied,” she said. “I feel I have been stepped on for a whole year — everyone says all the time that we have to stand together as a team and as a nation, but I feel I’ve been on the receiving end (of a raw deal.)

”Nothing comes for free in life, but I thought I had earned a certain amount of respect, but maybe that wasn’t the case.”

She apologized Tuesday, saying that “emotions got the better” of her after the match. But she also noted that she still “strongly disagreed” with Riise’s decision to leave her out of the starting XI.

“I just want to apologize for my statements after the match. I’m just a human being with a lot of feelings,” she told reporters. “Emotions got the better of me. I took the focus away from what matters, and that is being here to play the World Cup.

“I respect that the coach decides, and she has the right to do what is best. I know it causes unrest around the team, when I speak out as I did yesterday. It was… not the rational me.”

She also addressed her comment about being on the receiving end of a raw deal after Riise was appointed head coach, again apologizing without backing down.

“A year ago I was removed from the leadership group as one of the first things Hege did,” she said. “I also disagreed with that, but it was not relevant to yesterday, and should not have been referred to. So I apologise for that. I want to do everything to help Norway further.”

Riise accepted the apology and said Graham Hansen is still a part of the team’s plans for its final group-stage match Sunday against the Philippines. Norway needs a win for a chance to advance to the knockout stage.

“She is genuinely sorry for her emotional outbursts, not only now, but also a bit back in time,” Riise said. “There is no reason why this cannot be a success story. We had a crash, now it has to be reset and then we will continue working forward.”

Just Women’s Sports is here with your daily World Cup Digest, breaking down all of the biggest storylines from each day of action in Australia and New Zealand.

Today’s top World Cup news: Philippines shock New Zealand after controversial VAR call

The Philippines got their first World Cup goal – and subsequently their first World Cup win – against New Zealand on Tuesday.

The stunning 1-0 defeat came after New Zealand seemed to equalize in the 68th minute but had the goal disallowed on a VAR call. The video review showed the head of New Zealand’s Hannah Wilkinson crossed the offside line by the slimmest of margins before her shot.

“It’s so heartbreaking for everyone in this team,” New Zealand coach Jitka Klimkova said. “We played to win and it didn’t go our way. We were fighting until the end, but it wasn’t enough.”

On the other side, the Philippines celebrated a historic triumph. Sarina Bolden scored the game-winner, which made her the all-time leading international goal scorer for the Philippines. The goal meant everything, she said after the win.

“It feels overwhelming, crazy — it feels like I’m in a dream,” Bolden said. “It doesn’t feel real.

“I literally can’t put it into words. This has been a dream of mine as a little kid to just be here at the World Cup, let alone even score.”

Today’s top highlight: 18-year-old Linda Caicedo scores first World Cup goal

Linda Caicedo broke onto the senior international stage in thrilling fashion as she scored in Colombia’s 2-0 win over South Korea. The goal came in her senior World Cup debut, and marked the third time she’s scored at a World Cup in a year – the only player to ever start and score in three World Cups in the span of a year.

Yes, you read that right.

Last August, Caicedo featured on Colombia’s U-20 team at the Under-20 World Cup in Costa Rica. She scored twice against New Zealand in the group stage. Two months later, Caicedo played at the U-17 World Cup in India, where she helped Colombia to a runner-up finish and was tied for the tournament’s top goal-scorer with four goals.

And last night, she made her senior World Cup debut, becoming the second-youngest South American player to score a debut goal since Marta in 2007. At just 18 years old, Caicedo already has beaten cancer (she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 15), signed with Real Madrid and made her name known on multiple international stages. Get ready, world. Linda Caicedo has arrived.

Today’s results:

  • Philippines 1, New Zealand 0
  • Norway 0, Switzerland 0
  • Colombia 2, South Korea 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • At 16 years old, Casey Phair became the youngest player in World Cup history to appear in a match after subbing on for South Korea last night.
  • Zambia cut its match preview press conference short Tuesday due to persistent questions about an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against head coach Bruce Mwape. Last September, Zambia’s FA announced that it had referred an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse to FIFA. In July, the Guardian revealed that Mwape was among those being investigated. When asked Tuesday if it would be good for the team for him to step aside, Mwape asked: “What environment affecting the team in particular? What are you talking about? I would like to know because there is no way I can retire without reason. Maybe your reason is because what you are reading from the media or from the press, but the truth of the matter should actually come out, not just on rumors.”
  • Norway winger Caroline Graham Hansen was unhappy about starting her team’s game against Switzerland from the bench. The game, which was missing Ada Hegerberg due to a groin injury, resulted in a 0-0 tie. “It’s tough, I don’t know what I can say. There’s not much I can say, I feel like I’m standing here with my hands tied,” she said in an interview after the match. “I feel I have been stepped on for a whole year — everyone says all the time that we have to stand together as a team and as a nation, but I feel I’ve been on the receiving end [of a raw deal]. … Nothing comes for free in life, but I thought I had earned a certain amount of respect, but maybe that wasn’t the case.”

New Zealand secured its first-ever World Cup win Thursday with a shocking 1-0 victory over Norway in front of an exuberant home crowd in Auckland.

The Football Ferns rose to the challenge on home soil in front of 42,137 fans, a record for women’s and men’s soccer in the country.

“There was just belief, belief that we were going to win,” said Hannah Wilkinson, who provided the lone goal of the match. “We had so many Kiwis to make proud tonight. I think feeling that support all around us, we kind of just knew that this was gonna be it for us. We were gonna get this. We were creating chances and even before we scored, we knew that it was coming. So when you get that kind of energy, it’s kind of indescribable.”

New Zealand captain Ali Riley had said before the tournament that the team felt the pressure to get its first-ever World Cup win.

“I know if we do that, so many little girls want to take up soccer and it will help our program have a successful future, which is so important to me on the back end of my career, having played for the team now since 2007,” she said on Snacks.

“There’s so many things that I want to happen after this World Cup and it starts to feel like a lot. But I know that if one little girl is inspired to pick up sport that it will improve her life and have her experience some of the amazing lessons that I’ve learned and how much sport has helped me, whether she becomes a professional player or a national team player or not.”

After her team achieved its goal to open the tournament, Riley found herself overcome with emotion in her postgame interview as she described the history-making moment.

“I’m so, so proud. We’ve been fighting for this for so long and we had a clear goal, that we wanted to inspire young girls, young people around this country and around the world,” she said. “And I really think we did that tonight. Anything is possible.

“It’s the best time of my life. But I think with the performance, we deserved it. We believed in ourselves the whole time. It looked like we wanted it more, and that gave us confidence. And we were pushing to score.”