Torske talks up Norway

Jarl Torske tells that Norway have the talent to recapture their glory days.

Tough opener
But Norway, having been pipped by Denmark to first place in their group, then proceeded to crush Iceland 7-2 in Reykjavik in the opening leg of their play-off, prevailing 9-3 overall. However, they must begin their Group B campaign in England against holders Germany, before playing France and Italy in a tough pool.

Torkse's thoughts
Jarl Torske is a stalwart member of Norway's coaching team, having been part of the 2000 Olympic gold-winning set-up, and is now also in charge of the Under-19 team. He shared his thoughts with after the finals draw in Manchester. It could not have been a more difficult start for Norway against Germany.

Jarl Torske: That's right. It's a tough opening but those matches are always a little different to other matches. If we take a point from that it will be a good start and will set us up. Overall, though, are you happy with the draw?

Torske: We are really. Although we know that all three sides have good teams - France and Italy both have some good young players emerging - we were happy to stay clear of the Nordic teams. Norway have slipped a little behind Germany and Sweden in the European pecking order. Are you confident you can retain your status as one of the world's best?

Torske: I'm sure we can. Last summer proved that we are on the way back because we beat both those sides in friendly matches. We have some talented young players which have brought renewed enthusiasm into the team so I'm sure we'll be back and hopefully will reach the final here. Your Under-19 team has been playing some excellent football in recent seasons. Will we see any of your latest prodigies in the Norway squad this summer?

Torske: There are a number of players in the squad for a training camp in La Manga and one or two of them might make the final party but I think this tournament has come a little too early for some of them. Maybe in one or two years we'll see more of them. Matches against the likes of China, Germany and Sweden at the Algarve Cup should serve as excellent preparation for your campaign in England.

Torske: I think the best way to prepare for a championship is to play the best teams. When we won the Olympics in 2000 we played the United States, Germany and China several times as warm-ups and that worked. SK Trondheims-Ørn have become the first Norwegian side to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Women's Cup. Does that sort of success breed confidence in the national team?

Torske: I hope so. This type of breakthrough can only be good as several players and the assistant coach of Norway are all involved with Trondheims-Ørn. That's good for Norwegian soccer. England has a reputation for having passionate supporters. What sort of tournament are you expecting?

Torske: Whenever you come to England you get a good crowd and a good atmosphere. I've been here a few times with the national team and it's always been good. Football is in the right place to boost women's soccer this summer.