Norway’s national football team was badly beaten when it resumed its bid for the European Championships in a match against Croatia over the weekend. The Norwegians lost by a humiliating 5-1, but their coach was upbeat.
“We will take with us some positive things from the match,” head coach Per-Mathias Høgmo told reporters when it was all over. “This team will keep growing throughout the season.”
The so-called landslaget has been through a generation shift and now includes the 16-year-old wonder-boy Martin Ødegaard, who received good reviews for his debut from the start of the Euro 2016 qualifier. Even Croatia’s coach praised the young Ødegaard, and Høgmo called the performance of Stefan Johansen “brilliant.”
It was more a problem of the results being much worse than the presentation, according to some sports commentators. The national team also knew they faced a relative powerhouse team in Zagreb on Saturday. “Croatia is a good team, and this was good training for us,” said Johansen. Teammate Tarik Elyounoussi agreed: “We are a team under development and we learn with every match we play. It’s important to hold our heads high, learn from this and look forward.”