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Haug's hat-trick sends Norway into round of 16 at Women's World Cup

AUCKLAND, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Norway orchestrated a goal onslaught to secure a last-16 berth in the Women's World Cup, decimating the Philippines 6-0 here on Sunday, highlighted by Sophie Haug's brilliant hat-trick.

With this win, Norway overcame the odds to edge out co-hosts New Zealand based on superior goal difference, claiming a last-16 berth alongside Switzerland, who held New Zealand to a scoreless draw.

Entering the previous two rounds, all four teams - Switzerland, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Norway - in Group A had a chance of progressing.

The Philippines had produced a remarkable performance to defeat New Zealand 1-0 in their previous match and stood on the cusp of making history. They could have ensured a knockout stage spot in their debut campaign with a victory in this match.

Norway, only having secured one point before Sunday's game, had never completed a group stage campaign in the Women's World Cup without recording a win.

Taking an early lead in their bid for a round of 16 spot, Norway ended their goal drought just six minutes into the match. A long pass over the top found Haug, who deftly scored with a first-time volley from a tight angle.

Eleven minutes later, Norway doubled the lead using the same tactic. A similar long ball found Haug, and this time, the 24-year-old found the back of the net with a precise header.

The Scandinavians almost cemented their victory in the first half as Caroline Hansen fired a rocket shot that nestled into the bottom corner.

The 1995 World Cup champions showed no mercy after the halftime break, forcing the Philippines to score an own goal. The situation for the Philippines deteriorated when Sofia Harrison was shown a red card in the 67th minute. Guro Reiten subsequently converted a penalty, followed by Haug's third goal in the dying minutes.