Impressive Norway win eliminates England
Saturday, 8 June 2013
England 1-3 Norway
Goals from Fredrik Semb Berge, Jo Inge Berget and Magnus Eikrem secured Norway's first Group A win and eliminated England.
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Norway produced a stellar display to secure their first UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group A triumph and eliminate England.
Buoyed by their last-gasp equaliser against Israel, Norway opening the scoring on 15 minutes thanks to Fredrik Semb Berge's first U21 goal. Jo Inge Berge and Magnus Eikrem extended the advantage either side of the break before Craig Dawson's penalty gave England a glimmer of hope shortly before the hour. Tor Ole Skullerud's men were rarely troubled thereafter and held on to boost their semi-final hopes and send England home.
England dominated much of the early possession but it was Norway's Omar Elabdellaoui who had the first chance of the game, bursting into the area only to blaze over. Stuart Pearce's charges responded with a chance of their own when Danny Rose headed Jordan Henderson's free-kick over the bar on 13 minutes. Set pieces proved to be the best avenue of attack for both sides and, after England failed to clear a second successive Norway corner, the deadlock was broken. Eikrem lofted the ball back into the area and Semb Berge pounced on it to shoot low into the bottom right corner.
Skullerud's side looked confident with the ball, defensively sound without it and almost doubled their lead through Marcus Pedersen, but the scorer of Norway's first equaliser against Israel, could only poke wide from a narrow angle after a neat one-two with Håvard Nielsen. Norway remained undeterred, though, and grabbed a superb second 11 minutes before the break. Nielsen pulled the strings again, lifting a pass over Steven Caulker and into the path of Berget who unleashed a powerful volley into the top right-hand corner.
The introduction of Connor Wickham at the break lifted England and they came close to hitting back straight away. Thomas Ince's strike was deflected narrowly wide and from the resulting corner Jordan Henderson's left-footed strike stung the palms of Orjan Nyland Haskjold. Norway still posed a threat and they extended their lead on 52 minutes when Pederson surged past Craig Dawson and cut it back for Eikrem to rifle in off the underside of the bar.
Seemingly down and out, England were handed a lifeline just five minutes later when Semb Berge felled Dawson and the defender converted the resulting penalty himself. A flicked Henderson header that went narrowly wide was the closest England came to a second but Norway held on to edge closer to the semi-finals.