Germany have eliminated Norway in every UEFA Women's EURO since a final tournament with a group stage was introduced in 1997 – but that does not make their latest loss in the 2013 decider any easier to take.
Norway were more than a match for the holders in Solna, having beaten them 1-0 in the group stage, but this time the scoreline was reversed. Substitute Anja Mittag scored on 49 minutes and Nadine Angerer saved a Norway penalty in each half, first from Trine Rønning, then from Solveig Gulbrandsen.
Of course, for Norway to get this far was impressive. Eli Landsem was replaced as coach after a stuttering qualifying campaign, Even Pellerud returning to the role in which he won European and world titles in his previous reign between 1989 and 1996.
Norway had a notably young squad, especially up front where Caroline Graham Hansen and Ada Hegerberg had breakthrough tournaments, and they were bolstered by the continued presence of Rønning and Ingvild Stensland, plus Gulbrandsen coming out of retirement. And in goal Ingrid Hjelmseth was at least the equal of Angerer, especially with her two penalty saves in the semi-final shoot-out defeat of Denmark.
Nevertheless, it remains 20 years since Norway, or indeed any nation other than Germany, has won the title and Maren Mjelde and Marit Fiane Christensen shared their thoughts with UEFA.com.
Maren Mjelde, Norway defender
It was a really good game from our side. We played good football today, but right now I'm just very disappointed, because I hoped that it would have gone better for us today.
[Were Norway surprised by Anja Mittag coming on and scoring within four minutes?] I don't think so. She was the one to score, so good for her, not so good for us. No, we were not surprised.
[Angerer's penalty saves]. Yes, she did a good job, of course. She's a really good goalkeeper, not so good for us, but that can happen.
We have done a really good job in this tournament. We made it to the final – we hoped for gold, now it's silver. Now I'm really disappointed, but tomorrow, when we think about it, everybody will be glad and satisfied with what we have done here. This was a good start to something good. So, a final now and then maybe in two years we will also go through [to the FIFA Women';s World Cup final]. We have a really good and young team now, so it's exciting.
Marit Fiane Christensen, Norway defender
It was a tough game. It was two good teams, but we were as good as Germany in parts of the game. We had our chances, but they're good and they used their chances well and their goal was nice. It is, of course, disappointing.
I didn't see [Mittag], she came from wide. It felt like [Célia Okoyino] da Mbabi was almost through, so I had to move over to get to her if she was heading to goal, so I felt like I had to be that close to get her because she'd passed another of our defenders.
[Positive for the future?] Yes, that's how we've got to see it in some days or some hours, but right now it's just disappointment. Hopefully soon we'll see that our performance in this tournament was quite good.
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