Eli Landsem had some act for follow after her predecessor as Norway coach, Bjarne Berntsen, bowed out by reaching the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ semi-finals, but she has started in fine fashion.
The opening game was tough – a home FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier against the other side beaten in the last four in Finland, the Netherlands. Norway, though, won 3-0 on Saturday in Bekkestua thanks to a Trine Rønning penalty and further goals by Solveig Gulbrandsen and Isabell Herlovsen. Then on Wednesday an Alexandra Bíróová own goal ensured Norway defeated Slovakia 1-0 in Skien to move three points clear in Group 2.
Landsem has kept the backbone of the side that surprised many people in the European finals, but did recall some key talents who had been in the international wilderness, notably Lise Klaveness and Marie Knutsen. "The players have responded well, but I knew the quality of this group of players," said Landsem, previously in charge at Asker FK. "They are more confident after the success in Finland, and I'm sure this team will get better. [Against Slovakia], especially in the first half, the girls were well below par. We got a little better in the second half, but at the end we were most relieved to win."
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