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Friendlies

  • 26 May 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo
  • Referee: M. Weiner
  • • Attendance: 21496
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Live Commentary

  • Right, I'm going to leave you to digest that underwhelming England performance for yourself. Nothing out of the ordinary from the Three Lions, if we're honest! I hope you've enjoyed our play-by-play of the friendly and stick around on the website for all the reaction to the all-European international.
  • 90' + 4'
    That's full-time in Norway! The final score is Norway 0-1 England. The visitors were positive and bursting with energy in the opnening salvos but their second half showing left a lot to be desired. The hosts deserved an equaliser for their wealth of pressure in the final 45 minutes but, in the end, Ashley Young's ninth minute goal was all that separated the two sides.
  • 90' + 1'
    Substitution Alexander Tettey Jensen
  • 90' + 1'
    Four minutes of stoppage time to play here. Can Norway sneak an equaliser? Will England double their lead? Or, more likely than both, will the score simply remain at 1-0 to England?
  • 90'
    Abdellaoue, who hasn't had many strikes on goal this match, drifts a strike way wide to the left of goal from 30 yards out.
  • 89'
    Riise and Kelly clash heads in the corner of the pitch and England are given a free-kick from the incident. Only 60 seconds of normal time remain in Oslo.
  • 88'
    Substitution Phil Jones Martin Kelly
  • 88'
    Another England debut: Liverpool defender Martin Kelly comes on for Manchester United's Phil Jones at right-back. This came seconds after Walcott was deemed to have been offside from Adam Johnson's intuitive cross from the middle of the park. Replays are inconclusive whether the Arsenal winger was onside.
  • 87'
    Riise curls a corner in and Green has to punch clear to deny Hangeland a header on goal. The tall Norwegian centre-back is excellent for Fulham in the air.
  • 86'
    Riise is found maginificently by Berisha on the left flank but the full-back cannot find enough space to get a cross away. The Scandinavians continue to hold possession but seek an alternate route into the box.
  • 85'
    Substitution Stewart Downing Adam Johnson
  • 85'
    For Norway, Markus Henriksen makes way for Valon Berisha. For the visitors, Adam Johnson comes on for Stewart Downing.
  • 84'
    Substitution Marcus Henriksen Valon Berisha
  • 83'
    A nice period of passing from England but that can largely be attributed to the hosts dropping the intensity of their pressing off the ball.
  • 81'
    Walcott lashes a tame shot from outside the box that is easy for Norway keeper Jarstein to reach.
  • 80'
    Yep, an anti-climax. Still, it was more positive of Hodgson's men to actually venture past the halfway line for longer than 30 seconds.
  • 79'
    Walcott skips down the right flank and initiates a move that ends with a throw-in next to the corner flag. An actual England attack might just be brewing, or this could be an anti-climax...
  • 77'
    Erik Huseklepp slides an attractive ball down the right wing for Ruud but Baines does well to get a block on the first-time cross.
  • 76'
    The Three Lions' injury list sure is piling up! Barry, Parker, Danny Welbeck, Glen Johnson and possibly more look like they might miss out on the European Championships.
  • 74'
    Substitution Daniel Braaten Erik Huseklepp
  • 74'
    Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose father Mark Chamberlain scored on his England debut long ago, almost doubles the scoreline with his second touch but Walcott's ball is a little too short. An impressive burst from the young winger.
  • 73'
    Substitution Gareth Barry Jordan Henderson
  • 73'
    Substitution Ashley Young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 73'
    18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on for England's goalscorer tonight, Ashley Young, to make his international debut in the senior team. Jordan Henderson, who is on stand-by for the 23-man Euro 2012 squad, replaces Barry who looks like he has an injury.
  • 72'
    A rare England attack! Downing's cross from the right flank is blocked by Riise and it's an England corner from their right flank.
  • 71'
    Ruud's shot after a long Riise throw-in on the left is charged down by Milner and is flies out for a corner to the hosts.
  • 70'
    I wonder if Hodgson told his players at the break to go out in the second half and just 'do a Chelsea in the Champions League final'...
  • 69'
    A deflected cross from Riise falls into the path of Christian Grindheim, but the Norwegian midfielder blazes over from 25 yards.
  • 67'
    Baines arrives late to save Barry the embarrassment of being to blame for a Norway equaliser at the right post.
  • 66'
    Downing gallops up to pitch on the left, switches to Milner who passes to Young, then to Barry, then to..oh look, another wayward pass. Norway are doing excellent pressing but England are just looking woeful on the ball right now.
  • 65'
    I honestly cannot remember the last point when the visitors put together more than six passes. Certainly in the last 15 minutes Norway have been utterly superior.
  • 64'
    Here's a funny-looking final score for you: Netherlands 1-2 Bulgaria! So not one team from the dreaded Group B in Euro 2012 - Denmark, Germany, Holland and Portugal - have won their friendly matches today!
  • 62'
    Substitution Morten-Gamst Pedersen Christian Grindheim
  • 62'
    Riise beats Walcott on the left wing and ploughs towards goal, forcing an excellent save by Green at his near post.
  • 61'
    Norway attacking duo Mohammed Abdellaoue and Elyounoussi are continuing to show good movement off the ball to trouble England's centre-backs Lescott and Jagielka.
  • 60'
    Since Jones hit the post for the visitors, England have been on the back foot and have barely entered the opposition half. This could be one of those England performances where you have to look away from the screen towards the end.
  • 58'
    Daniel Braaten has a blast after cutting inside from the right wing on the edge of the box but one of the numerous England defenders in his path blocks the shot.
  • 57'
    Looks like Milner will move into the middle and Walcott will replace him on the right wing. So no Theo 'Defensive Tank' Walcott just yet then...
  • 56'
    Substitution Scott Parker Theo Walcott
  • 56'
    Scott Parker turns out to be the player who makes way for Walcott. Either Roy Hodgson has a change in formation planned or the former Fulham boss has secretly molded the Arsenal winger into a grafting centre midfielder in the space of a few training sessions!
  • 55'
    A solid slide tackle from Baines gives the home side a corner on the right. Theo Walcott looks like he will be brought on for England any moment now.
  • 54'
    England are falling into bad habits here, letting the Norwegians muscle their way into the game and struggling to string passes into sequence of double digits.
  • 53'
    Well, this certainly has been an shot-packed second half so far!
  • 52'
    John Arne Riise gets in on the action now, skidding a shot from 30 yards out towards the left and forcing Green to get down low and pounce.
  • 51'
    Some threatening pressing from Norway ends with Morten Gamst Pedersen firing a shot wide of Robert Green's right upright. The Blackburn winger should have hit the target from 25 yards out with no immediate opponent on his tail.
  • 50'
    For a reason unknown to anyone on the pitch or on the planet, the referee has given a free-kick to Norway instead of an England corner. There's probably a perfectly legitimate reason for the decision but it's not remotely obvious.
  • 49'
    Phil Jones now has a crack on goal! The England right-back drives from the full-back flank and bursts towards goal, cannoning a shot off Hangeland's face onto the right post before bouncing out for a corner.
  • 48'
    Leighton Baines takes the free-kick and curls it towards the bottom left-hand corner. Norwegian keeper Rune Almenning Jarstein (that's the last time I try and spell his name, I swear!) dives credibly to his left to palm it off the line before pouncing on the loose ball before any blue-shirted players can nick it into the back of the hosts' net.
  • 47'
    Ashley Young goes on another winding run 40 yards from goal and wins a free-kick on the edge of the Norway box when Brede Hangeland pushes him over cynically.
  • 46'
    Substitution Steven Gerrard Gareth Barry
  • 46'
    Play is back underway in Oslo.
  • 4'
    It may not be the liveliest of friendlies but it's more than getting me in the mood for Euro 2012. Only 13 days to go until the Uefa tournament starts. Exciting stuff.
  • Will the Three Lions try and up the intensity in the second half? Barry has been given the skipper's armband, playing under his eighth England manager. Quite the little stat!
  • Gareth Barry will be coming on for England captain Steven Gerrard in the second half. Much to the disappointment of the home fans who enjoyed booing his every touch towards the end of the first half, I suspect.
  • In my opinion, the Three Lions have been good, but no more. It's all positive though and I wouldn't even think that conceding a goal or two in the second half would be too detrimental to their confidence, so long as there's no capitulation. Norway look like they could score from a corner especially if not marked adeptly by the English defenders.
  • What did we think of that half then? A good enough England performance to suggest the nation could compete in the latter stages of Euro 2012 or not?
  • 45' + 2'
    That's half-time, and it's Norway 0-1 England! Ashley Young's classy finish after nine minutes is all that separates these two European nations. The hosts haven't lacked in effort but have been caught short in tthe quality department. The visitors have had a smattering of chances but have certainly not been dominating.
  • 45' + 1'
    A deep free-kick from 50 yards out on the left is curled into the box but Green confidently comes out and collects the aerial threat.
  • 45'
    One minute of added time to play as the Three Lions continue to slowly (and not so surely) try and get the ball out of their own half.
  • 44'
    A harmless Norway corner from the right is thumped clear and Norway have to start from square one in defence. The first half is sliding to a subdued close.
  • 42'
    Phil Jones has looked uncomfortable on the ball at times at eight-back but I can't imagine hodgson will take him off at half-time. The Manchester United man needs the international experience in case he is required at the Euros on the big stage.
  • 41'
    Gerrard's every touch is met with a chorus of boos from the home attendance. Hardly surprising. On the pitch, England's passing is getting sloppy and they are lucky to be playing against a team with difficulties creating chances from their unforced errors (a bit of tennis terminology sneaking in here).
  • 40'
    Substitution Tom Hogli Espen Ruud
  • 40'
    Espen Ruud replaces the injured Hogli, who cannot continue, and we have five minutes left to play of normal time this half.
  • 39'
    The Scandinavian defender is down for a couple of minutes but eventually hobbles off the pitch for treatment. The crowd aren't too pleased the England captain wasn't booked for that previous tackle.
  • 37'
    If this was a competitive match, Gerrard would be on a yellow card. He lunges in to tackle Norway defender Tom Hogli and takes a bit of man as he blocks the ball. As it stands, he is merely warned by the referee for his reckless challenge.
  • 36'
    The towering Liverpool forward makes amends by clearing the dangerous corner with a hoofed boot. The Norwegians try to worm it back into the box, but to no avail, the ball dribbling through Jones' legs and out for an England goal-kick.
  • 35'
    Carroll gets back to do some defensie duties but does more harm than good, conceding a corner with a lackadaisical pass. Yes, I just used that word. And what a word it is.
  • 34'
    Milner almost doubles the lead when he breaks away on the right but, after successively cutting inside with a dummied shot on his right foot, his left-footed attempt is low and straight at the feet of Norway shot-stopper Jarstein.
  • 33'
    Henriksen has a couple of shots blocked by the wall-esque England defence.
  • 32'
    Phil Jones, a player who seems to literally be able to play anywhere, fires a direct cross in from near the byline in the right wing. The Norway keeper catches the ball firmly and the home team have possession back in their hands. Literally.
  • 31'
    No success from the set-piece for Hodgson's men, and the visiting side are lucky to escape with the lead intact when Parker almost bottles it as last man behind the halfway line when under pressure from a pressing counter-attack of sorts.
  • 30'
    Downing and Leighton Baines combine handily on the left flank to win the Three Lions their first corner.
  • 29'
    Ah! Just as I say that Gerrard gives the ball away needlessly. But Norway don't take long to give it right back to the blue-jerseyed opposition. Their manager, Egil Olsen, will not be pleased with that complacency.
  • 28'
    England have Norway camped in their final third for now. The ball is doing the rounds across the pitch by the patient visiting team.
  • 27'
    Downing has looked totally different from the winger who has flopped at Liverpool this campaign. A whipped cross from the left has to be hastily swiped away from Jarstein to prevent Carroll from nodding it goalwards.
  • 26'
    Blackburn Rovers winger Morten Gamst Pedersen clatters Gerrard on the halfway line and is, as a result, penalised by the referee.
  • 25'
    The atmosphere has sapped a little at this Oslo arena, hopefully a bit more action will change that. I've got my fingers crossed!
  • 24'
    Tarik Elyounoussi has been making a hassle of himself inside England's defensive third, but has yet to cause a genuine problem.
  • 23'
    The hosts really don't look keen on pressing England much when in the opposition half. I suppose this is a friendly though, and it's not like Norway have Euro 2012 to prepare for.
  • 21'
    Riise nips in down the left and forces a super block from Jagielka inside the box. Good attacking from the Norway left-back and good defending from the England...defender.
  • 20'
    The commentator is describing Roy Hodgson's England as having a bit more variety and depth than Fabio Capello's. We've only seen 20 minutes! Hold your horses!
  • 19'
    Former Bolton Wanderers striker Daniel Braaten heads over from 10 yards out. If you're a Premier League follower and wondering why you don't know who he is, it's because he wasn't at the Reebok Stadium for very long. Aka, he played rubbish in training.
  • 18'
    A lull in play as England take their foot off the gas and the Norwegian's desperately try to get their foot on it.
  • 16'
    A corner for the Scandinavians once more. This time Milner defends at the near post and any imminent danger is quelled.
  • 15'
    Another chance for Young, but this time the opportunity is wasted. Steven Gerrard curls a cross over the hosts' defence but Young's volley loops over the bar.
  • 14'
    Young, Jones and Milner combine neatly on the right flank for the Three Lions but the ball into the box is cleared by Norwegian centre-back Brede Hangeland.
  • 12'
    Ha, a very FIFA 12 moment! Green almost has an embarrassing moment to match his woeful moment in South Africa two years ago when the corner whips in and almost sneaks into the near post, but instead cannons off the woodwork and away from the England goal.
  • 11'
    A powerful hit from Markus Henriksen forces Robert Green to make a high save at his left post. Norway have their first corner.
  • 9'
    Assist Andy Carroll
  • 9'
    Goal Ashley Young
    GOAL!! A classy goal from England and the fourth goal in four consecutive England matches for Ashley Young. The Manchester United winger picked the ball up 40 yards from goal, dribbled a bit at the depleted Norwegian defence before dummying on his right foot and spurring into the area. A quality finish to slot it to the left of the helpless Rune Almenning Jarstein and into the bottom corner. Norway 0-1 England.
  • 7'
    Norway are letting the visitors pass the ball about and could come a cropper because of it. England have seen more of the ball in the opening stages in Oslo.
  • 6'
    Milner runs the ball out on the right flank when under very little pressure. Apparently, the Manchester City midfielder has played just ONE minute of competitive football for the Blues in the last seven weeks! Barren.
  • 5'
    The Anfield forward probably should have scored that opportunity. It was excellent play from the much-derided Downing leading up to the header off target.
  • 4'
    Close for England! Stewart Downing whips a handy ball in from the edge of the box on the left, and his Liverpool team-mate Carroll beats the defender to the header but cannot direct it inside the Norway right-hand upright.
  • 3'
    A reminder of the Three Lions formation: 4-4-1-1, with Ashley Young playing just behind lone striker Andy Carroll.
  • 2'
    Scott Parker and Phil Jones trading passes on the right side of defence as England slowly try to make their way up the foreign field.
  • 1'
    Norway get the game started. James Milner is on the right for the visitors, Downing on the left, while the hosts are apparently playing a 4-1-4-1 formation this evening.
  • We're seconds from kick-off...
  • Yes, the players are out on the pitch and (some of) the Norwegian 11 are singing along to their national anthem. Plenty of the miniature-flag-waving crowd are singing along too. Lovely stuff.
  • A slightly fast version of England's national anthem - God Save The Queen - is being belted out on the sun-drenched Oslo stadium. One day I want the speed to be increased to such a tempo that whoever sings it is practically rapping. Man, I want to see that so bad.
  • I've got to say, I'm a rater of Norway's jersey. A deep red with a vertical navy line down the left shoulder from top to bottom. I promise not to make this play-by-play sound like a fashionista parade - just a bit of colour for you lovely lot.
  • Many of you vented your frustration at Downing being selected ahead of Walcott on the England wing. He has had a dire season at Anfield, but let's not forget he was a major part of the team which helped the home nation qualify for Euro 2012. It would be harsh to just dump him from the squad without giving him a chance, methinks.
  • Fun fact: the last England manager to guide the team to a victory in Norway was Sir Alf Ramsey. Big shoes.
  • Sweden's Eurovision entry for this evening is blaring out of the Oslo stadium. Don't get me started on that appalling excuse for a TV programme. I am eternally glad I have football to keep me occupied over the next couple of hours as an excuse to stay away from it!
  • Other friendly results today have included Spain 2-0 Serbia, Switzerland 5-3 Germany (please, Higher Entity, give us a game like this), Portugal 0-0 Macedonia, and Republic of Ireland 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not all plain sailing for many Euro 2012 qualififers. I wonder how this game will pan out for the Three Lions...
  • Gerrard also said it's good that the squad is no longer called the 'Golden Generation". A really solid interview from the Three Lions skipper. I wrote a little feature this morning about how the Liverpool midfielder can lead the side to success of some sort if he can replicate the form he has had at Anfield over the past decade. Next time you're knocking about aimlessly on the site see if you can search it down.
  • An interview with Steven Gerrard now on ITV Sport. He admitted the squad have "unfinished business" and brushed aside, with impressive honesty, any reason for fatigue being an excuse. He looks like he's practised that line about John Terry's selection in the mirror a few times!
  • Internationals get a lot of flak from bitter club-fanatics, but the reason I love them is because you get to see all sorts of players who you'd never normally watch. Take this Norwegian bunch: I've only ever watched John Arne Riise, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Brede Hangeland play football. A chance to see what hidden gems the Scandinavian country has to offer, perhaps!
  • When asked if this was the worst England team to go to a major tournament, Hodgson told ITV Sport: "I don't know." Wow Roy! Thanks for the optimism! In all fairness, he goes on to reprieve himself (slightly) by saying: "We've got a good team with good players."
  • Up front, Andy Carroll will stroll about like a towering wildebeest, hoping to nick a goal or two against the Norwegians. He gets a lot of abuse does the Liverpool striker, but he has been in excellent lately. On the bench, Tottenham's Jermain Defoe is available should Hodgson fancy changing things around at some point.
  • In midfield, it looks like Hodgson has opted to field a flat four with Ashley Young playing just in front of them, behind the lone striker. James Milner and Stewart Downing will roam the flanks while Scott Parker and captain Steven Gerrard will graft away in the middle of the park. No place for the likes of Theo Walcott, Gareth Barry or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Their time will come, I suspect. Wow, that sounded very prophecy-like didn't it?! I just meant they'll get a run out over the next month, I'm sure!
  • I'm not going to lie, I really do like that defence. Except for Baines, who is unfortunate enough to be behind arguably the best left-back in the world in the England pecking order, I'd say each of the defenders can push for a starting berth at the Euros with a good performance tonight.
  • In defence, Leighton Baines starts at left-back in the absence of Ashley Cole, whose fellow Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Gary Cahill are also rested after their Champions League win last weekend. As a result, Manchester City's Joleon Lescott and Everton's Phil Jagielka start at centre-back, with Manchester United's Phil Jones covering the injured Glen Johnson at right-back.
  • So, England team analysis time! I'll go through it by position so not to cram everything in one update! Hodgson opts to choose Robert Green in goal over the Three Lions' No.1 Joe Hart, but no doubt the Manchester City keeper is just being rested for the Euro 2012 games. If this was Sven-Goran Eriksson in charge of the country again, Hart would be playing the latter 45 minutes, but thankfully we don't have to suffer his insane love for substituting players in friendly matches.
  • England: Green; Jones, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines; Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Downing; Young; Carroll. Subs: Kelly, Hart, Henderson, Barry, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Defoe, A Johnson.
  • Norway: Jarstein; Hogli, Demidov, Hangeland, Riise; Elyounoussi, Henriksen, Tettey, Pedersen, Braaten; Abdellaoue. Subs: Pettersen, Madsen, Ruud, Grindheim, Huseklepp, Jenssen, Berisha.
  • Good evening boys and girls! Welcome to the LIVE! commentary of Norway v England. On the face of it the match is a harmless friendly, but new Three Lions coach Roy Hodgson will want to start his leadership of the national team with a win. I'm Miles Chambers and I'll be bringing your fine selves the team line-ups imminently!