England vs. Norway: Score and Recap for Euro U-21 Championship Match

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2013

PETAH TIQWA, ISRAEL - JUNE 08:  Thomas Ince of England is tackled by Stefan Johansen of Norway during the UEFA European U21 Championships, Group A between England and Norway at HaMoshava Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Petah Tiqwa, Israel.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

England and its supporters entered the 2013 Euro U-21 Championship with high hopes, but those hopes were dashed on Saturday as Norway shocked Three Lions in Israel by a score of 3-1, eliminating a heavily favored England side from the tournament, according to The Football Association.

Despite the fact that England dominated the possession battle throughout the match, Norway was the more dangerous team, as it made the most of its opportunities and provided more energy than England did.

England hasn't won the Euro U-21 Championship since 1984, and that long drought is now guaranteed to continue until at least 2015. England's play in international competition has been criticized by its followers in recent years, and this result certainly won't quiet the whispers.

Norway got on the board first in the 15th minute, as England took a lackadaisical approach to a ball crossed into its box. The ball was headed down and as it was sitting among a sea of bodies, Norwegian defender Fredrik Semb Berge picked it up, spun and shot it past goalkeeper Jack Butland to put Norway up 1-0, according to The Football Association.

It wasn't the prettiest goal, but the Drillos celebrated just the same. While it was a solid effort by Berge, the English defense was not strong on the ball and wasn't sturdy enough in its own box. A more physical challenge likely would have resulted in a clearance.

GIF courtesy of FeintZebra.co.uk.


England possessed the ball with great regularity following Norway's goal, but it was unable to generate many quality scoring chances. Norway ended up with another golden opportunity in the 30th minute, as Marcus Pedersen broke down the left side and got in on Butland, but he didn't have an angle and couldn't beat the English goalkeeper.

Norway did strike again soon after, however, thanks to a beautiful lob from winger Havard Nielsen. He chipped the ball over the top of the English defense and midfielder Joe Inge Berget ran right onto it. He had tons of space to run into England's box and he made no mistake as he drilled a left-footed shot past Butland, according to The Football Association.

There was once again nothing much that Butland could do, as his defenders were caught napping and allowed an extremely dangerous offensive player to enter the box practically unmarked.

GIF courtesy of FeintZebra.co.uk.


With Norway leading 2-0, it forced England to play more aggressively, but it was still unable to generate chances. That nearly changed with just a couple minutes remaining in the match when the English team earned a free-kick in the 43rd minute. The ball was struck beautifully and center-back Steven Caulker put it past Norwegian goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, but it was disallowed, according to The Football Association.

Caulker's finish was a beauty as he connected on a diving header. But he left a fraction of a second early and was behind the defense when the ball was struck, so he was whistled for offsides. That represented England's best chance of the half as Norway took a 2-0 lead into the closing 45 minutes.

England seemed to pick up its play early in the second half as it had a flurry of offense, but it didn't take Norway long to demoralize Three Lions, with the Norwegians beating Butland for a third time in the 52nd minute.

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The goal was set up by Pedersen as the forward made yet another majestic run down the sideline. Pedersen used his blazing speed to get by the English defense and sent a precise and firmly struck pass into the box. Midfielder Magnus Eikrem made no mistake as he drilled the shot off the crossbar and in to give Norway a 3-0 advantage, according to The Football Association.

England seemed to be down and out, but a stroke of luck allowed it to get back into the game. Defender Craig Dawson nearly scored on a header off a corner, but he was grabbed by a Norwegian defender, which prompted the official to award England a penalty kick.

GIF courtesy of FeintZebra.co.uk.


It was a goal that England absolutely had to have, and Dawson made sure that he buried it to pull England to within two goals, according to The Football Association.

Nyland actually guessed correctly on Dawson's attempt as he dove low and to his left, but Dawson's strike was confident and accurate enough to elude the goalkeeper's hand as he tucked it into the bottom corner.

GIF courtesy of FeintZebra.co.uk.


England spent the remainder of the match trying to pour it on offensively and draw nearer, but it was unable to beat Nyland again. England had constant pressure for the final 30 minutes of the match, but Norway kept its shape and didn't allow many great chances.

It wasn't for a lack of effort, but England simply didn't have the finishing touch that it needed in order to beat or tie Norway on Saturday. The Norwegians made the bulk of the big plays over the course of the match, and that ultimately doomed Three Lions.


Man of the Match: Marcus Pedersen

Any number of Norwegian players could be chosen as the man of the match, but forward Marcus Pedersen was dangerous throughout and Norway's impressive attack often ran through him. Pedersen didn't net one of Norway's goals, but he was a constant factor and England always had to account for him.

He created dangerous opportunities on numerous occasions as he used his speed to stretch out the English back line and open up space in the middle of the field. His run down the right side in the second half directly resulted in a goal, as he showed his playmaking ability with a pinpoint pass to Eikrem in the English box.

Pedersen played for Odense in the Danish Superliga this past season on loan from Vitesse, and he showed plenty of flashes of brilliance, scoring 12 goals in 25 appearances. He was easily Norway's most explosive and creative player on Saturday and is the biggest reason why the Norwegian team was able to upset England.


What's Next?

Despite entering the tournament as one of the main contenders, England has now been shockingly eliminated from the Euro U-21 Championship. Norway officially surpassed England for good as it has racked up four points by virtue of a win over England and a draw against host nation Israel.

Also, Italy already has three points under its belt after it defeated England in its opener. Italy will face Israel today, but no result can possibly save England, as even one point for Italy creates an insurmountable deficit. Also, a win would give Israel four points and England can only pick up as many as three points if it beats Israel on Tuesday.

As for Norway, it is now in prime position to advance into the knockout stage. A win for Italy against Israel would be ideal from Norway's perspective as it would ensure at least a second-place tie in the group. Whatever the case, Norway will have a chance to punch its ticket to the next round on Tuesday when it faces off with the Italians.


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