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Women’s World Cup 2019: Katoto and Short axed, Hegerberg continues exile

A trio of top stars will be kicking their heels on the sidelines this summer after being left out of their respective squads for the Women’s World Cup in France.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Casey Short and Ada Hegerberg have been omitted from the rosters of France, United States and Norway respectively.

Katoto is a surprise omission having topped the French league’s scoring charts for Paris Saint-Germain this season with 22 goals.

France coach Corinne Diacre has previously been critical of Katoto’s international performances and has selected Guingamp striker Emelyne Laurent ahead of the 20-year-old.

Laurent impressed at the U20 World Cup in Brittany back in 2018, but her inclusion at Katoto’s expense could come back to haunt Diacre if France fail to fire at the World Cup.

Short’s absence from the US squad is even more of a surprise, particularly with the reigning champions looking short of options at left-back.

The 28-year-old has been in great form with the Chicago Red Stars, helping her team reach the semi-finals of the National Women’s Soccer League last season.

She also played well at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship and the SheBelieves Cup, and her exclusion from the squad seems an odd decision.

An injury to Crystal Dunn would leave head coach, Jill Ellis, potentially playing players out of position and she may regret omitting Short when summer comes around.

Hegerberg’s absence from the Norway squad wasn’t unexpected, as she has refused to play for the national side since 2017.

The Ballon d’Or winner has taken a stand against what she believes is a lack of respect for female players in Norway.

Her decision to step away from international football came just months before the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) and the nation’s player’ association (NISO) signed an equal pay agreement.

However, Hegerberg has continued her exile claiming it is not just down to money and that there are several other changes that would need to be made before she would consider returning.

The three-time Champions League winner has enjoyed another stellar season with Lyon. The French club are close to claiming another league title, while they also have finals of the Champions League and French Cup to look forward to.

The absence of the best player in world football has taken some of the gloss of Norway’s squad announcement and is undoubtedly disappointing for the Women’s World Cup as a whole.

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