Some commentators on Monday were calling Norway’s national men’s football team the worst since the 1980s. There’s no question that the launch of qualifying matches for the next World Cup is off to a brutal start for Norway.
First the team lost even a so-called “training match” against Belarus last week by a score of 1-0, after what newspaper Aftenposten alled “93 minutes of suffering.” Then the Norwegians had to face Germany, one of the world’s powerhouse teams, in the first of a round of four qualifiers played out in Oslo Sunday night. Despite having the home-turf advantage, Norway didn’t come close to scoring. Newspaper Aftenposten was among many media outlets reporting that German was crushingly superior on the field.
“We didn’t come here to see the fine scenery,” German coach Joachim Löw had said before the match began. While claiming to have some respect for Norway, the Germans rolled over the Norwegians, who ended up losing 3-0. Norwegian coach Per-Mathias Høgmo valiantly looked for some bright spots.
“There was some excitement … and the players should get credit for their effort and their will,” Høgmo said. “They stayed the course even when they were extremely exhausted.”
Now it’s just to move on to the next matches and hope for better results for his young team that’s been through a major generation shift the past two years. The next World Cup qualifier will be against Azerbaijan in Baku on October 8, followed by another at home against San Marino on October 11. Then Norway will meet the Czech Republic, also at home in Oslo, on November 11.