Åge Hareide is the new coach of Norway and will lead the team in their qualifying campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Hareide will take charge on 1 January, replacing Nils Johan Semb who stood down last month following Norway's failure to reach the UEFA EURO 2004™ finals. "We've agreed to take on Åge Hareide as national coach for four years," said Karen Espelund, head of the Norwegian Football Association (NFF).
To take the job, the 50-year-old Hareide has parted company with Rosenborg, less than three weeks after the club completed a domestic double with a Norwegian Cup final win against FK Bodø/Glimt. The NFF has paid Rosenborg an undisclosed sum as Hareide had two years left on his contract. His assistant with the national team will be Stig Inge Björnebye, the former Rosenborg defender.
The coach had been at the Lerkendal stadium for just a season, having succeeded the legendary Nils Arne Eggen when the latter retired at the end of the 2002 campaign. He guided the club to a 12th consecutive Tippeligaen title in October, ending the season 14 points clear of Bodø/Glimt - later to be beaten 3-1 in extra time in the cup final.
UEFA Cup win
The one negative of Hareide's reign was the club's failure to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage, having lost in the third qualifying round to RC Deportivo La Coruña. However, Rosenborg have impressed in the UEFA Cup and last week won 1-0 in Belgrade to reach the third round at the expense of FK Crvena Zvezda.
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