It was a late strike that her compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have been proud of. Or perhaps more aptly, Solveig Gulbrandsen. With her 84th-minute strike Emilie Haavi not only won the match for Norway against Equatorial Guinea, but became the second-youngest goalscorer for her country at a FIFA Women's World Cup, behind the legendary Gulbrandsen.
When FIFA.com informed her of this fact, the 19-year-old blushed with pride. “That’s so cool,” she said. “She is a legend in Norwegian women's football and a personal inspiration to me.”
Haavi, a student from Baerum, only made her debut for Norway in a friendly with Canada last year, so to be part of the global showcase of women’s football that is Germany 2011 is incredibly special to her.
“It’s a dream to play in a Women’s World Cup,” she smiled. “It’s a big opportunity to show what you have got. I’m not the main goalscorer but I like to score goals and I am a striker so it’s my job. When I get a chance, I’ll try to take it.”
Today she did just that. When Leni Laursen Kaurin’s low cross was drilled in from the right edge of the box, Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Miriam failed to get enough on the ball and it fell to Haavi, who tapped it in with her right foot. At the other end, the game’s player of the match, 30-year-old goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth, celebrated ecstatically.
“It was a relief to see the ball go in,” she told the tournament’s official website. “With five minutes to go I was worrying that we weren’t going to get the points, but up popped Emilie. She’s really prolific and a very good player – she did the same against USA. We actually call her Der Bomber! She doesn’t seem to be fazed about playing at a World Cup at all.”
In nine games for the Gresshoppene, Haavi has scored five times, a record which her 'nick'namesake Gerd Muller would have been proud of, but today’s is a strike she will certainly never forget.
“It's my best moment in football,” she beamed. “It’s a dream come true, it was amazing. I was confident I would score. I was just thinking not to shoot over so it was really nice to see it go in. I hit the post early on in the game, but we had to keep thinking we were going to score. We kept playing for a goal and we did it, so that was good.
Haavi is the second-youngest member of Eli Landsem’s squad, but as one of six players from Roa, she feels completely at home. “My family are not here but they are coming to the Brazil game,” she continued. “I’ve already had a few messages and they are proud of me. But being in this squad is like a family. I know so many from Roa, so that makes things easier. It’s really nice.”
The No19, who is a keen skier, was also full of praise for her opponents Equatorial Guinea, who were perhaps unfortunate not to take a point from the game. With 28 goal attempts, six more than Norway during the 90 minutes, they certainly provided a tough test for the Scandinavians.
“I have to say that I thought Equatorial Guinea did really well,” she said. “We didn’t know much about them before the game, but they created a lot of chances too. They’re probably thinking that football is really cruel right now.
“I don’t think we were at our best. It was really hot today and that we’re not used to playing in that kind heat, but we’re going to have to do better against Brazil. However, after that win we’re confident now – and I’m really excited about that match. Brazil are one of the best teams in women’s football.”