Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen, left, apologised after criticising coach Hege Riise, right, for dropping her for the match against Switzerland ©Getty Images

Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen has apologised for publicly criticising the team's manager Hege Riise after she was dropped from the starting line-up for the goalless draw against Switzerland at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

The world number 12 team are the top-ranked side in Group A, but their hopes of reaching the knockout stage hang by a thread after a 1-0 defeat in the opening match to co-hosts New Zealand and a 0-0 draw against Switzerland on Tuesday (July 25).

Barcelona winger Hansen is one of Norway's biggest stars and started the loss to New Zealand in Auckland, but was only a 57th minute substitute against the Swiss in Hamilton.

Hansen said afterwards, "I thought I had earned a certain amount of respect, but maybe that wasn’t the case", and claimed, "I feel that my hands are tied behind my back".

However, she has since apologised for those remarks.

"I just want to apologise for my statements after the match," Hansen said.

"I’m just a human being with a lot of feelings.

"Emotions got the better of me.

"I took the focus away from what matters, and that is being here to play the World Cup."

Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen featured only as a 57th-minute substitute against Switzerland ©Getty Images
Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen featured only as a 57th-minute substitute against Switzerland ©Getty Images

She added she still "strongly disagreed" with Riise's team selection, but "I respect what the coach decides".

Riise, a Women's World Cup winner and Olympic gold medallist at Sydney 2000 with Norway, took over as head coach of the country's national team in August last year.

Hansen clarified she had been frustrated at the start of Riise's tenure, but admitted this should not have been referenced at the World Cup.

"A year ago I was removed from the leadership group as one of the first things Hege did, I also disagreed with that, but it was not relevant to yesterday, and should not have been referred to," she said.

"So I apologise for that.

"I want to do everything to help Norway further."

Norway need to beat the Philippines in their final group match in Auckland on Sunday (July 30) to stand a chance of progressing to the round of 16.