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.