Norway lost its first qualifying match for the European Championships on Tuesday night, with mighty Italy blanking the Norwegians out by a score of 2-0. The loss was not unexpected, though, and national coach Per-Mathias Høgmo called the match “good training” for future qualifiers.
“If you look at the team that started (the European qualifier rounds) today, it’s a very young team that lacks routine,” Høgmo told state broadcaster NRK. “The match today gives us a lot of good experience that we will take with us further.”
Norway had the home-turf advantage as the match played out at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, and before a relatively large crowd. But commentators agreed that Italy outplayed Norway. “We were up against an extremely good team,” Høgmo said. Others said there was a major class difference on the field, between Italy and Norway.
Both Høgmo and his players were disappointed but he remained upbeat. “We know there was a big gap between us and Italy, they are one of the world’s best teams,” he said. “We have a lot to improve on, but that doesn’t scare me. It is a challenge to meet such a team and we must get better, so we’ll be motivated by that.”