Wednesday 10 April 2019, 15:00

Herlovsen: Family, goals and helping younger players

  • Isabell Herlovsen set for fourth World Cup at France 2019

  • Striker reminisces about 2007, 2011 and 2015 editions

  • Stresses the importance of family and her role as squad veteran

“I’m the same person and the same player, possibly even better. I want to be myself and take care of the younger players, because I've been in that position and know how nervous they can feel.”

Isabell Herlovsen has represented Norway at the last three FIFA Women’s World Cups™, and the self-assuredness and generosity of the above message shows just how much things have changed since she debuted in the competition at China 2007 as a wide-eyed 19-year-old.

Since then, she has donned her country’s colours on more than 100 occasions, while continuing to rack up the goals that now have her among Norway’s all-time top-five scorers. Impressive though they are, those stats do not tell the full story of her contribution to the national team. The free-scoring striker also uses her maturity and vast experience to help a new generation of players adapt to the demands of international football, while still focusing on her primary task of delivering goals.

And it is not just her young team-mates who have been getting a helping hand from Herlovsen in recent times, as she seeks fulfilment off the field too. “I now have my own family, including a small boy, and it’s great to have them around me, I’m glad he can grow up watching me play football, which is half of my life.”

Herlovsen in brief

  • Centre forward - 30 years old – right footed

  • Currently plays for Valerenga – has spent most her career in Norway

  • Heading ability and first-time finishes are two of her best attributes

  • Full international since 2005 – has competed at three World Cups (4 goals)

  • Started six of Norway’s eight qualifiers for France 2019

World Cup memories

France, a group-phase rival

The last time Norway played the host nation at the World Cup was in the quarter-finals at China 2007, when a young Herlovsen scored the goal that sent the Scandinavians into the last four.

Twelve years on they face hosts France, who are among the title favourites. Perhaps fond memories of 2007 are part of the reason the player smiles when we mentioned the upcoming duel. “It'll be nice to test ourselves against France at the World Cup. I think the pressure will be on them, while we just have to enjoy that game.”

Norway - Nigeria8 JuneReims
France - Norway12 JuneNice
Korea Republic - Norway17 JuneReims

Norway’s World Cup adventure will start four days earlier in a tough encounter with Nigeria. The Super Falcons have qualified for every edition of the World Cup and head to France as reigning African champions.

After their showdown with Les Bleues, Norway round off their group phase campaign against Korea Republic, who will be making consecutive World Cup appearances for the first time in their history. “There are many teams with structures in place and it’s getting harder and harder to play them,” said the No9. In fact, the South Koreans and teams from Africa surprised several countries with higher FIFA Rankings at Canada 2015.”

Isabell Herlovsen of Norway

Family close to hand

With constant travelling, training and match fixtures, footballers invariably spend thousands of hours separated from their loved ones over the course of their careers. However, Isabell Herlovsen had found a way to have her family with her at all times – courtesy of the tattoos on her right arm.

🌹 Three roses – representing her brother, sister and herself 🤝 The hands of her parents 🕰 The time of her birth 🔥 The Olympic rings ✍️ A saying, which her brother and sister also have tattooed

“Family has always been important,” she told us when describing the inkwork. With those dearest to her on her skin and her son probably in the stands in France, Herlovsen will be hoping to make nets ripple and play a leading role in this year’s festival of women’s football. “Anything can happen, so I hope Norway can have a good World Cup,” she concluded.