Belfast Telegraph

Divided loyalties: The Belfast girl supporting both Northern Ireland and Norway

By Jonny Bell

While households up and down the country were jumping with joy at Northern Ireland's two-goal trouncing of Norway at Windsor on Sunday, one household was a bit more undecided on how to celebrate.

Zoe Andersen was born in Belfast but her mum hails from Norway.

And when the two teams played on Sunday evening there was a decision to be made. For two-and-a-half-year old Zoe it was divided loyalties as she wore a Norway hat with a Northern Ireland kit.

"She's only two," said mum Christel, "So she doesn't really understand, but our hearts are always with Norway.

"We beat them last time out so we were hopeful."

Christel hails from Oslo and has lived in Northern Ireland for the past 13 years having moved for the statistical reason - love.

Now living in Carrick she says she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I've travelled the world, but Carrick is the place for me, we love it here. It's the green field and lack of snow. Zoe loves her Ulster fry and we would have my granny's Norwegian stew. We would go to Oslo once or twice a year, but we always want to get back home."

More: Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill starting to dream again after Norway are put to sword

Jamie Ward got Northern off to a flyer with a goal in the opening minutes while Conor Washington bagged the second on the half-hour mark. The win sees Northern Ireland progress one step closer to the finals in Russia next year and all but ends Norway's hopes of qualification.

While it was tight smiles in the Andersen household, Zoe and her mum will be following the Green and White Army on their journey to Russia.

"But it will always be Norway for Zoe," says her mum, "until she's old enough to think otherwise."

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