Norway took pole position in UEFA EURO 2004 Group 2 when Denmark’s 2-0 defeat in Copenhagen against Bosnia-Herzegovina allowed them to profit with a win in Luxembourg.
Braun miss target
Norwegian coach Nils-Johan Semb had urged his players to seize the intiative straight from the start but it was Luxembourg who had the better of the opening action and they nearly took the lead after only seven minutes. Poor marking from Frode Johnsen allowed Gordon Braun to shoot from close range but his effort flew just centimetres wide. It was to be as good as it got for Luxembourg although they made Norway work hard for the victory.
Besic on hand
The first half was played at a slow pace that allowed the hosts to frustrate the Norwegian attackers with only Ole Gunnar Solskjær really threatening a strong Luxembourg rearguard. The Manchester United FC striker went close after 20 minutes when Tore André Flo flicked the ball on for the on-rushing Solskjær, but his strong finish was kept out by home goalkeeper Alija Besic.
Solskjær then turned provider for Flo two minutes later with the Sunderland AFC man elegantly turning past Jeff Strasser before shooting straight into the hands of Besic to ensure Allan Simonsen’s men kept a clean sheet going into the break.
Rushfelt breaks deadlock
Norway maintained their dominance after the break but had to wait until the 58th minute to finally break the deadlock. A superb corner from John Arne Riise was headed back across goal by Ronny Johnsen for Sigurd Rushfelt, and he had no trouble opening the scoring for the visitors with a close-range header.
With their resistance broken, the hosts misery was then compounded fifteen minutes later when a strong free-kick from Andre Bergdølmo was met at the near post by Solskjær, and his clinical finish left Besic helpless.