Fans were unhappy and the coach and his players bitterly disappointed. Norway’s men’s national football team (landslaget) lost a match they were expected to win, and hopes of playing in the European Championships are now dim indeed.
Hungary beat Norway by a score of 1-0 on the Norwegians’ own home turf at a sold-out Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo Thursday night. The Norwegians seemed to have every advantage and hadn’t lost any match to the Hungarian national team since 1981. But now they have, and fans let their displeasure be known. As state broadcaster NRK reported, the match that was supposed to be the easiest draw Norway could get in the Euro2016 qualifier playoffs turned out to be anything but.
“Of course we’re disappointed over the result,” head coach Per-Mathias Høgmo told TV Norge, which carried the match live on national TV. He wasn’t giving up, though: “This is a team it’s fully possible to beat. I have told the players that they’re allowed to be disappointed, but with one goal (at Sunday’s match in Hungary), the dream lives on.”
Hungary led at the break and Norway never shot back, even though some commentators thought Norway was the better of the two. Laslo Kleinheisler’s goal after 26 minutes was like a cold shower. It got worse when Norway was denied a penalty kick that the Norwegians firmly believed they deserved.
Now the teams travel to Budapest for the second playoff match on Sunday. If Norway doesn’t win, the Norwegians once again will lose their chances for taking part in Euro2016, for the first time in 15 years.