Germans humiliate men’s football team

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Norway’s latest football fiasco was nothing less than painful for all involved, not least beleaguered Norwegian football fans. The national team’s devastating 6-0 loss to Germany in Stuttgart Monday night was enough to leave players, coaches and bosses of the sport hanging their heads in shame.

Never before has a Norwegian team lost a national match by more than three goals. Monday night’s wipe-out suddenly doubled that gap and prompted the team’s new high-profile coach Lars Lagerbäck to admit that “it’s clear that it hurts to lose by six goals.”

Lagerbäck, who has been seen as the only bright spot amidst all of Norway’s football troubles at present, said he didn’t want to adopt a more defensive strategy, even after Norway was already down 4-0 at the break. “I don’t believe in changing the style for a match,” he told Norwegian Braodcasting (NRK). “I have more faith in trying to build on what we have up to now even though this was a heavy loss today. It was my decision to hold forth with the same tactics.”

They’d worked well for the team on Friday, when the Norwegians won for the first time in their deeply troubled round of World Cup qualifiers. They were already knocked out of World Cup competition when they traveled to Germany and didn’t seem to have much to lose. They ended up losing the nation’s dignity.

“Is this really the Norwegian national team,” queried one German football commentator when he couldn’t believe how badly the team played. The German team is admittedly powerful and was heavily favoured to win, but no one expected Norway’s worst loss in 45 years.

Norwegian commentators were shocked as well, with newspaper VG running its entire front page in black on Tuesday with the German words for “good night,” and Aftenposten commentator Ola Bernhus calling the match “just so sad.” There was no point, Bernhus wrote, in looking for words to describe the wipe-out, or even to evaluate individual players.

At least the leaders of Norway’s national football federation NFF, often characterized as arrogant and unwilling to accept criticism, may be humbled now. The players certainly were, wrote Bernhus, who did find words to describe the match as “a circus like we’ve never seen” and “a complete humiliation.” There wasn’t much more to add. Berglund