Norway’s national football team suffered its worst loss on Tuesday night since its 5-1 defeat against Denmark in 1985. Football commentators were scathing of the team’s performance in the 4-0 loss to France, and embattled coach Per-Mathias Høgmo admitted Norway has a lot of work to do before the European Championship qualifiers begin in September.
The friendly played out before a packed stadium in Paris. Norway had not played in front of such a large crowd since taking on Ireland in front of 76,000 fans during the 1994 World Cup, reported newspaper Aftenposten. Norway didn’t come close to rising to the occasion and was completely trampled by France, to the delight of 70,000 jubilant French fans.
“Norway was totally outplayed,” said Norwegian Broadcasting’s (NRK) football expert, Arne Scheie. “This was the best Norwegian team and that is actually a little scary. We had an Olympic team in the 80s that also took a couple of blows, but now that we’re talking about the best Norwegian team, this is the most humiliating.”
Max football commentator Lars Tjærnås described the match as a “cabinet of horrors” and a “blast from the past,” referring to Norway’s dismal performance in the 70s and 80s. Former national player and Viasat 4 expert commentator Rune Bratseth said Høgmo clearly needs more time with the team.
Høgmo only took on the coaching role last autumn, and since then has guided the team to five losses, two draws and one win, conceding 17 goals in just eight games. He tried to put a positive spin on the match, and called it good training ahead of Norway’s European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Croatia in autumn.
“Yes, there’s no doubt that it was a very useful match for us,” Høgmo told Aftenposten. “We met a very physically strong team, good skills, we were severely punished in many stages of the game, which meant that the match picture especially in the second half was of course not as we wanted it to be.”
Norway did record a worse result when it lost to the United States in 2006, but that team only featured domestic league players.