“I congratulate Norway for making it difficult for us,” Roy Hodgson, coach of England’s national football team, said after his players beat Norway by a score of 1-0 at Wembley Stadium in London Wednesday night. He claimed the Norwegian defense was “very solid” and that England had to fight for its victory.
It came when Wayne Rooney, making his debut as England’s captain, scored on a penalty kick. and that came after one of Norway’s promising young players, Mats Møller Dæhli, was carried off the field writhing in pain. It turned out later that he suffered a knee injury but it was not serious. “The preliminary medical reports say that he’ll be fine,” Norway’s coach, Per-Mathias Høgmo told Viasat.
Høgmo caught criticism from some football experts in Norway including Kjetil Rekdal, who scored a famous goal at Wembley when he was playing for the national team in 1992. Rekdal, now the coach of the Vålerenga football club in Oslo, said he couldn’t understand why Høgmo “changed tactics,” and claimed Norway “was cowardly and played destructively before the break.”
Others agreed that the first 45 minutes weren’t very exciting, and England had the ball most of the time. England failed to produce many big chances, though, and there was no scoring until Rooney, who’d been called “fat” by one of the Norwegian players before the match began, kicked his ball behind Ørjan Nyland.
Norway’s squad will be back in action on Tuesday on home turf at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, in their first qualifying match for the European Championships against Italy. Hodgson said he thought Norway would qualify for the championships in 2016.