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Down but not out: Norway coach Martin Sjögren on recovering from the 8-0 defeat against England

"The situation is clear as glass: if we win, we're in the quarter-finals," says Norway coach Martin Sjögren as his side look to bounce back from their record 8-0 defeat against England when they take on Austria.

Norway's team huddle during the defeat against England
Norway's team huddle during the defeat against England DeFodi Images via Getty Images

For several years Norway's team motto has been "sterkere sammen" ("stronger together") and, though that sense of unity has been tested after their 8-0 loss to England, for coach Martin Sjögren the healing process started seconds after the final whistle.

Mindful that a place in the quarter-finals was still up for grabs, he gathered his shocked squad on the field straight after full time. "We needed a little minute together," Sjögren told UEFA.com. "It was about instilling some courage in the girls and the leadership team before everyone went on their way to the media and flash interviews and so on.

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"We just wanted to bring the group together, show that we are a strong group – it's important to do that when things are at their toughest, and you could say that this was one of those occasions," Sjögren added with a wry smile.

The 45-year-old and his staff returned to their hotel and watched the game to analyse it while it was still fresh in the memory. "It's never so simple in football that there's just one thing that you can adjust and everything will be good again," the coach explained. "Football is complex, and part of that was that after England were awarded a penalty [for their first goal] we began to crack a little and make some poor decisions."

England rattled in five more goals in the first half and added two more in the second, but Sjögren wanted to ensure his side digested that defeat before they focused on their final Group A game against Austria, where a win will see them through as runners-up.

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"After the game and the following day, there's a lot of thoughts and feelings that are related to situations that we experienced in the game against England, so we took the day after the game to process them," he explained. "It's not as simple as saying 'now this is over, we’re not thinking about it anymore'. It's a process. It has to be allowed to hurt, but we need to move on."

The day after the game, a number of players used some spare time to meet family and friends, re-grouping on Wednesday to make the adjustments necessary for Friday's match. "We have a third game to come, and that's an extremely motivating factor when it comes to putting what happened against England to one side," Sjögren said. "The situation is clear as glass: if we win, we're in the quarter-finals.

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"If we looked at the scenarios before the tournament started, it's not completely surprising that the last game is decisive. Austria have the advantage that they can go through with a draw. I think it's actually a good thing for us that there's such a very definite way into the game for us – either we win, or we're out. There's no reason to hold back or be afraid: it's about putting your foot to the floor to try to win the game.”

Norway return to the scene of the defeat against England – the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium – to take on Austria, but the venue holds no fear for them. "You're going to see a very motivated Norway," Sjögren said. "It will be a very different type of game to the first two. We can only promise that we will come out, work as hard as we can and do everything to win this match."

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