Drillo’s last stint as coach

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Norway’s legendary football coach Egil “Drillo” Olsen says his current post as head coach for the national squad will be his last. He hopes to go out in a blaze of glory.

Mar. 08, 2010 - Broendby, K benhavn - epa02070554 The five coaches of the five teams of qualification group H of the 2012 Euro football championships are lined up for photographers before the planning meeting, 08 March 2010, in Copenhagen Denmark. Icelands Olaf Johannessen (from left) Portugals Carlos Queiroz, Cypress coach Angelos Anastiadis, Norways Eigil Drillo Olsen and Denmarks Morten Olsen.

This is my last chance to achieve anything great in the football game I love so much,” the 68-year old Olsen told newspaper Aftenposten as he prepared the national team to meet Iceland’s team in Reykjavik in the first qualifier for the European Cup in 2012. The Norwegians won 2-1, an important victory in the run-up to the European championships.

It’s been 12 years since he shepherded the Norwegian team through the first round of the World Cup in 1998. After losing against Italy, though, he had nothing more to give.

(PicApp Photo: Norwegian coach Egil “Drillo” Olsen, second from right, poses with the other coaches of the Euro 2012 qualification group H: Iceland, Portugal, Cyprus, Norway and Denmark.)

He later coached Oslo club Vålerenga, London club Wimbledon, the G19 national team, Fredrikstad and, for a few hectic weeks, the Iraqi national team. It didn’t seem likely that he’d take on the the Norwegian national squad again, but he did and got off to a good start.

Drillo’s second turn at the helm started with an away win against Germany, a match he admits that he did not see since his only healthy eye had cataracts at the time.

“I did see it later, on video,” he says to Aftenposten.

After undergoing cataract surgery he has led his team to a string of sucesses; eight victories, two draws and only three losses. This is in sharp contrast to his predecessor as Norway’s team boss, Åge Hareide,  who suffered 12 defeats in a row.

“I have a sober attitude to what we’ve achieved,” Drillo told Aftenposten. “Two or three of the matches we won might easily have ended in draws or even losses.”

Olsen’s style of game has been considered boring, but during the last game against France not only did Drillo’s team win but excited fans were on the edge of their seats.

The much-mellowed coach has changed over the years. “In the old days I used to answer critical articles in the press. Now I don’t bother,” he says.

Norway has not qualified for a championship since 2000. “It would be a dream to qualify, but then again it was a dream in 1994 and 1998,” adds Olsen.

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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