Norway made the perfect start to their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 preparations under returning coach Even Pellerud as they won a strong four-team tournament in China.
Pellerud, previously in charge between 1989 and 1996 – lifting the 1993 European title and 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup – returned to the helm in December to replace Eli Landsem. His appointment paid early dividends when the team beat South Korea 2-0 through Elise Thorsnes and Leni Larsen Kaurin goals, overcome hosts China 1-0 with a late Melissa Bjånesøy strike, and then held Canada 0-0, knowing a draw would give them first place.
"Results tend to count for little in January, but it is always nice to win a tournament," said Pellerud, who coached Canada between 1998 and 2008 before beginning a four-year spell with Trinidad and Tobago. "The girls were well disciplined and also showed commitment and fighting spirit"
Bjånesøy was one of three players given a debut along with Cathrine Dekkerhus and Ida Elise Enget. Pellerud added: "There is competition for places now, which is good for the team. I think we will have a good EURO tournament, but the Algarve Cup will tell us more where we stand."
The Algarve Cup runs from 6 to 13 March, and Norway are in a group with Japan, Denmark and Germany. They have further friendlies in June away to Sweden and France before kicking off their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group B campaign on 11 July in Kalmar against Iceland, with the Netherlands and Germany to come.
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