England edge past Norway
Written By: Robert Halter
England hosted Norway in a friendly fixture at Wembley Stadium beginning of September. In the fourth minute, England opened the attack as Sturridge from the right hand side supplied Henderson and from Rooney’s pass, Sturridge was unable to find a way past the Norway defence. In the eighth minute, Norway threatened but Elyounoussi couldn’t get a solid contact from Elabdellaoui’s cross. On the quarter of the hour mark, after link up play between the Three Lions’ Sterling and Sturridge, they were unable to breakdown the Norway backline. Midway through the first half, Elyounoussi tried a long range shot from distance but his left footed effort was caught by Hart in the England goal. On twenty five minutes, a long ball over the top by Sterling found Sturridge in space, whose lob landed on top of the outside netting. But Norway responded six minutes later, when Linnes floated a ball over to King, but the danger was averted by Baines, who hooked the ball away. Norway pressed again within two minutes, as Stones delivered a cross which flew over the top of Sturridge’s head, and Sterling was unable to stop the ball going out of play. The first change was made as Norway took off Linnes due to a minor injury and Flo was brought on. Norway pressed again when King paved the way for Daehli but Baines got in a block before Hart raced out to cling onto the ball and rescue England. On forty minutes, Nordtveit’s challenge on Wilshere in the area went unpunished as a penalty appeal was turned away. Just before the break, Skjelbred’s cross from the right troubled Hart but the Three Lions keeper managed to get the ball at the second time of asking. Norway were the quickest out of the blocks for the second half, after Daehli breezed past Baines on the right flank and after following up with a teasing cross, Hart managed to steep down low to stifle the attack. On fifty minutes, Hart produced a key save after King shrugged off Stones before putting a header across goal which was kept out by Hart’s agility, with Baines covering at the far post. Four minutes later, King imposed himself on the game again, after an error from Cahill but Hart was at hand to smother the shot and prevent Norway from taking the lead. But Norway were dealt a blow as Daehli was taken off on a stretcher and Konradsen was brought on. There were more injury concerns after a clash of heads between Sturridge and Forren, but both players were soon back on their feet. Finally, England got the breakthrough in the sixty seventh minute, after Elabdellaoui’s rash challenge on Sterling, who was brought down in the area. It was left for the Three Lions captain, Rooney to take the spot kick, who smashed the ball into the left side of the net, to open the scoring. A triple England substitution was made as Milner, Delph and Welbeck replaced Rooney, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere while Norway brought on another Elyounoussi for Skjelbred. In the seventy third minute, Welbeck showed his class by opening up the Norway defence before striking a fierce effort that was kept out by a reflex save from Nyland. Three minutes later, Welbeck combined with Sturridge, before delivering a low cross which eluded Delph at the far side of the goal. Norway then took off King for Nielsen. On seventy seven minutes, Henderson curled a shot over the crossbar, after Sterling pulled the ball back from a Welbeck dummy. Norway then took off Elyounoussi and brought on Kamara. A Three Lions debut was given to Chambers in the eighty first minute as Stones was taken off before England brought on Jagielka for Cahill and Norway replaced Jensen with Pedersen before Lambert took up the England cause in favour of Sturridge. The match ended with England gaining a slender 1-0 victory over Norway to get their campaign back on track after a disappointing World Cup.