Teams blame field for Euro tie

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The national men’s football teams for both Norway and Sweden could agree on one thing after their European Championship qualifying match at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo Tuesday night: the condition of the field was “just terrible.”

That was Norwegian player Joshua King’s description after the match ended in a 3-3 tie that disappointed both sides. “I was very surprised over how poor the field was, it was much too loose and bumpy,” King told state broadcaster NRK. “I think we would have played a better match if the field was better.”

The match had nonetheless started well for the Norwegians, who haven’t performed well for several years. Under the leadership of, ironically enough, their Swedish head coach Lars Lagerbäck, the Norwegians were leading 2-0 until the Swedes fought back.

Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen called the field a “catastrophe” and “embarrassing,” telling Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that “European Championship football should not have been played here.”

Norwegian football officials responded that both teams have played under more demanding field conditions in the past, and that they can’t expect a “perfect” field in March, at the end of winter. Svein Graff, spokesman for Norway’s football federation, also claimed that maintenance crews had worked hard to prepare the field in advance of the match.

The Norwegian team remained near the bottom of its qualifying group after the match, while Sweden is second behind only Spain. staff