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Norway triumph on Pellerud return in China

Returning Norway coach Even Pellerud oversaw victory in a four-nation tournament in China as his side beat South Korea and the hosts before drawing with Canada.

Melissa Bjånesøy scored on her second appearance
Melissa Bjånesøy scored on her second appearance ©UEFA.com

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.