An opening half goal from Guro Reiten proved to be the difference between Norway and Cymru in Oslo on Tuesday as Jayne Ludlow's side suffered a 1-0 defeat in EURO qualifying.
With captain Sophie Ingle making her 100th appearance and the side boosted by the return of Jess Fishlock, Cymru started the better of the two teams with a determined and confident approach that clearly caught the home side off-guard in the opening exchanges.
However, the talented group leaders settled into the match and scored the decisive goal after 29 minutes. Both teams had chances during the second half, with Fishlock heading narrowly wide on 89 minutes. The equaliser did not arrive, but the performance from Cymru showed just how much this side has evolved and improved in recent years to compete so well against one of the best teams in Europe.
Today, my favourite player enters the 100 club.— Helen Ward (@helenwardie10) September 22, 2020
Our captain and leader and one of the most naturally gifted players I’ve ever had the pleasure to play alongside yet remains the most humble.
Enjoy your day @sophieingle01 #Cymru #BeCymru pic.twitter.com/n49bLIkuGT
There are not enough words to describe @sophieingle01 or what she will accomplish today ...— Jessica Fishlock MBE (@JessFishlock) September 22, 2020
100 Caps - Incredible.
What I will say is this ... You are My captain, you are Wales Captain & you deserve everything & more.
Lead us out today like always. . pic.twitter.com/A4eBc48Aro
Kick-off is fast-approaching in Oslo as Cymru complete their final preparations ahead of taking on Norway in what is a huge EURO Group C qualifier.
Jayne Ludlow has been boosted by the return of a number of players from injury for the match, headlined by Jess Fishlock. Meanwhile, captain Sophie Ingle has been celebrated on social media throughout the week ahead of what will be her 100th international appearance for her country.
Kick off at the Ullevaal Stadion is at 5.00pm and the match will be televised live on BBC2 Wales. You can also follow @Cymru for live updates.
While the focus is very much on the present for Jayne Ludlow and her Cymru squad this week, developing the next generation remains a key feature of each and every camp.
To help highlight how the pathway system is working just as well for the women's team as it is for the men, welshfootballfans.com have today published a feature on the players who are already challenging the senior figures in Ludlow's squad for a place in the starting line-up.
"For us it's really nice to see them here," said centurion Jess Fishlock. "They're really lucky they have Jayne who believes in youth and bringing them through. You know, they're good for us on camp, and it only bodes well for them that they can come onto our senior camps and see how we work, what we do, what is needed and expected of them in moving forward."
Wales manager Jayne Ludlow is backing her team's spirit and ethos to get a result in Norway tomorrow night pic.twitter.com/za6vhJc9lQ— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) September 21, 2020
Angharad James joined captain Sophie Ingle and manager Jayne Ludlow as they spoke to the media on Monday ahead of the Group C EURO qualifier against Norway tomorrow afternoon (5pm).
"Its' been a very long time and I think everyone is just excited to be back," said James. "It's months since we've been together and let's hope we can put in a good performance tomorrow. The approach is the same, we've been hard at work since we arrived.
"We're confident in what we've got to do. With everything that's happened it's helped us to prepare that little bit more. We all worked so hard during lockdown to get fitter and stronger. It's allowed us to get Hayley Ladd and Jess Fishlock back as they wouldn't have been available for the last camp, so we're in a stronger position going into this game.
"I think anyone would relish playing against the best and that's what we're doing tomorrow. They're the top seeds in the group and they're unbeaten, but hopefully we can change that tomorrow. We know what we're up against and we know the talent and quality that they will bring tomorrow, but we're more than ready for it. We're prepared and we're ready to go."
The Reading midfielder also paid tribute to Sophie Ingle as the captain prepares to make her 100th appearance for her country. "She's a brilliant leader and a great character around the group," added James. "She always has been and she's vital to us. She brings her experience and her technical ability to the group. She's brilliant on and off the pitch and it's credit to her for getting to 100 caps. We're all so proud of her and she deserves this moment."
Jayne Ludlow's squad touched down in Oslo yesterday evening ahead of Tuesday's EURO qualifier against Norway.
Captain Sophie Ingle is set to make her 100th international appearance and features in a special report on the BBC Sport website about her career for club and country. Click here for the full story.
Slovakian Petra Pavlikova will referee the EURO qualifier between Norway and Cymru in Oslo on Tuesday.
This will be third qualifier for Pavlikova as she also took charge of the fixtures between Slovenia and the Netherlands and Romania against Lithuania at the end of 2019. She has also officiated in the UEFA Women's Champions League during the last three seasons.
Pavlikova will be assisted by Ivana Lesková and Lenka Pavlackova while the fourth official will be Miriama Matulova. All of the officials are from Slovakia.
Cymru captain Sophie Ingle is set to make her 100th international appearance on Tuesday when EURO qualifying resumes with a difficult test against Norway.
The Chelsea star spoke to the media earlier in the week to talk about the crucial qualifier and her international career.
"Six months is a long time for us to be away from each other," said Ingle. "It's great to back and to see all the girls and get back on the training pitch. We've got a game to prepare for, but after the game I can reflect on the achievement of playing 100 games for my country. I remember my first game and it doesn't seem that long ago.
"Everyone's positive, we know it's going to be really tough out there away from home against Norway. But you want to play against the best teams and hopefully we can get the result that we need. It's important to have Jess (Fishlock) back in the squad and it's a huge boost for us as a team.
"We have to focus on our game plan and get that right, and we have enough quality in the squad to get a result. It's a massive, massive game and a result would put us in a really good position for the remaining games. It's been a long time coming, but we've been back with our clubs since July, so we're ready.
"It would mean everything to qualify, especially for us older ones. We've been involved for so long and that's just what we need as a team. We're capable of qualifying but it's going to be tough. We're really close as a team, and the young girls coming in are great characters."
The influential Jess Fishlock has made a welcome return to the Cymru squad this week following her recovery from a long-term injury.
Now playing the FA Women's Super League following her recent switch to Reading, Fishlock spoke to the media last week about her return to the field and to look ahead to the challenge of taking on Group C leaders Norway.
"It's an amazing feeling to be back," she explained. "It's been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, mentally and physically. It's been the hardest year of my entire career. I knew that if I wanted to be a part of this squad that I needed to play games. The most important thing for me was to be involved in a team that would provide a challenge and Reading does that.
"Everyone around me knows I love football and that I wanted to get through it and come back. It's an exciting challenge for our group, as Norway are one of the best teams in Europe right now. We have belief and we have to make sure we prepare well. We have to focus on it game by game.
"We're a team that are totally aware of what we're good at and what our restrictions are. We don't have an ego that will hinder us. We'll come up with a game plan and that's credit to our manager. When it comes to these types of game, we have a mentality that we are going to make it so difficult for them, but also that we want to win."
Cymru currently sit second in Group C ahead of Tuesday's EURO qualifier against Norway in Oslo.
The nine group winners and the three runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their respective groups will join hosts England in the 16-team finals. The other six nations in the runners-up positions will play off for the remaining three qualification places.
Here's the updated Group C table following Northern Ireland's 6-0 win over the Faroe Islands on Friday. Meanwhile, the Faroe Islands also return to action on Tuesday when they host Belarus.
Cymru go to Oslo for a EURO qualifying match against Norway on Tuesday, 22 September.
Follow all the updates from Jayne Ludlow and her squad ahead of the game in this live match blog.