On the heels of the great victory over Germany (in a friendly), Norway promptly lost at South Africa (2-1) and came from behind to beat Finland at home (3-2).
Although the FIFA rankings aren’t the most accurate system ever conceived, they do give a rough idea of the quality of teams.
- Germany: 2nd
- Norway: 45th
- Finland: 57th
- South Africa: 72nd
If Norway hopes to qualify for the World Cup, it’s going to have to have a lot better results against teams worse than it. I’m not sure these last two results are that good an omen.
In surprising soccer related news (via my favorite soccer blogger):
*According to FIFA, the country that has requested the most World Cup tickets (other than host South Africa) is the United States. Go figure. Britain is third, followed by Germany, Italy and Australia.
Yes, that would be 59th ranked Norway beating 2nd ranked Germany in Düsseldorf. With the win, Norway moved up to 56th in the February FIFA rankings and, more importantly, gave its fans a glimmer of hope.
Nordic Football News had the following to say:
It was vintage Drillo from Norway, only a paltry 22% possession, but for a manager who believes that having the ball is inherently a bad thing this is as it should be. For those fleeting moments the ball was under Norwegian control the men in red made the most of it, surging forwards with pace and determination. While Christian Grindheim’s winning goal may have come as a result of some diabolical defending, it was no less than Norway deserved after having gone close through Torstein Helstad and Per Ciljan Skjelbred.
“Good, but not good enough,” was Drillo’s conclusion after the game, being a man who understands how to push the public’s buttons. Instead of basking in victory he, well aware of his public image as a slightly dour professor-type, chose to focus on what he wasn’t all that pleased about. “We played too slowly at times,” he said, but in spite of what was coming out of his mouth experienced Drillo-watches will have noticed an uncharacteristic glint in his eye. This was the perfect start to his second spell in charge of the Norwegians and he knew it.
It may have been a meaningless friendly, but for a Norway team desperate to re-capture the affection of their country and a manager desperate to prove a point it meant quite a lot.
It was only a friendly, but it sure seemed to mean something around here.
…I’m back to posting. At least hopefully for both of my dedicated readers. 😉
In all seriousness, it’s hard to get back into the flow of posting when you stop. But, here’s a shot.
Luckily for me, nothing really happened in Norway while I was gone. I mean, not riots or anything.
Oh, one remarkable thing did happen. DRILLO IS BACK!
I’m excited about this for several reasons (even if they claim it’s only temporary):
- Hareide is no longer the coach (he of the winless 2008).
- Drillo has had success coaching Norway before, leading the tiny country to great soccer heights.
- Those successful teams played really, really boring soccer. So boring that even the English style could be considered easier on the eyes.
- If he repeats success, the ensuing metaphysical crisis about whether it is better to have a team that wins and is painful to watch or whether it is better to play like Brazil and lose will keep me entertained at parties for the indefinite future.
…Norway’s national team coach resigned. With Norway last in its World Cup qualifying group, I don’t think anyone around here will beg for him to stay. He had been in charge for the last five years, during which time Norway did not qualify for the 2006 World Cup or the 2008 European Championships.
So long Åge Hareide!
…except he got to meet the King. Other than that, two peas in a pod.
Both of us lived in Washington, DC. Both of us own DC United gear. Both of us moved to Oslo this year. Both of us are American.
Actually, that might be about it.
Troy got called in to the United States National Team and its official blog caught up with him for an interesting interview. My favorite parts below the jump…
Last night Stabæk finished off a fine season, beating Vålerenga 6-2. Among other facts:
- The win clinched their first Tippeligaen title.
- The win was the last match ever in Nadderud Stadion. Stabæk is moving to the new 15,000 seat Telenor Arena next year.
- They even scored a goal directly off a corner kick. I’m sure Vålerenga’s keeper, Troy Perkins, isn’t thrilled with his play on that one.
- They were only promoted to the Tippeliga in 2005, marking a rapid ascent to the top.
- The two teams will meet again in two weeks in the Norwegian Cup final. Stabæk will be heavily favored to win that match and take the double.
- The season technically isn’t over yet, but next week’s match against Tromsø doesn’t matter at all for Stabæk. Around the league, 4 teams are fighting for 3rd (and a spot in the
UEFA Cup Europa League). Most interestingly, Aalesund and HamKan are struggling to see which one will be auto-relegated and which will be in the relegation playoff.
Perhaps I should have picked Stabæk as my team. I think the faction in their logo effectively ruled that out though. Who needs math at a soccer match?
Yes, I know it’s really a date, but it looks like a fraction.
Posted in soccer
Tagged aalesund, Europa Leauge, HamKan, Nadderud Stadion, Norwegian Cup, stabæk, Telenor Arena, tippeligaen, tromsø, troyperkins, UEFA Cup, vålerenga