International Friendly - Euro 2012 Warm-Up
Norway 0-1 England

By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor reports from Oslo

England began the Roy Hodgson era with a narrow 1-0 win in Oslo thanks to an excellent finish by Ashley Young.

The Manchester United man’s early goal provided the decisive moment of a low-key friendly that failed to show any sort of improvement or indication that England can go far in the Euros.

Instead it was more of an audition for several of Hodgson's shadow squad and less key individuals to show what they can do as the remaining players not currently with the squad will surely play next week.


England's last win in Norway came in 1970 - 32 years ago. 

England showed early signs of the tactical discipline that will be demanded by Hodgson. And while the performance hardly set pulses racing, it should be remembered that the side that starts the serious action against France in Donetsk on 11th June will not resemble the one on show in Oslo nor will it be the one that England play in the World Cup in Brazil in 2 years’ time.

Hodgson will also have Wayne Rooney to call on once he has served a two-match suspension at the start of the tournament – and it is abundantly clear England will rely as heavily as ever on his ability to shape the outcome of important games, especially as England have only brought 4 strikers with them, and Danny Welbeck is currently side-lined.

The early signs were good: Nice, neat possession. Well drilled, well-disciplined in many areas; not giving the opposition any time to settle and hardly offering them a kick near the goal. Yet, if Hodgson was looking for early evidence of what he must improve before the tournament gets under way in Poland and Ukraine next month, it will be carelessness in possession – especially in the second half – that will not go unpunished against opposition superior to Norway, with the likes of Spain, Germany and Holland who all keep the ball well.

Hodgson was able to introduce Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for his debut late on as this makeshift England line-up closed out a victory that was solid for the most part without ever threatening to be spectacular.

Midfielder Gareth Barry also limped off after replacing Steven Gerrard at the break, as he was holding his hamstring – and was replaced by Liverpool's Jordan Henderson with 17 minutes left. 

Hodgson admitted there would be an early element of experimentation about England's side, with his focus firmly on that opening Euro 2012 meeting with France, perhaps even above getting a victory in Norway.

He would still have been looking for encouraging signs, however, especially from striker Andy Carroll. The Liverpool forward's presence has taken on increasing importance with Rooney suspended and Danny Welbeck's ankle injury still a source of concern.

And Carroll provided a hint of what Hodgson was looking for in the opening minutes as he sent a header wide from Stewart Downing's cross before playing a role in Young's fine individual effort after nine minutes. 

Carroll played in Young and the Manchester United attacker took advantage of desperately flat-footed defending from Fulham's Brede Hangeland and an intelligent decoy run from Gerrard to beat keeper Rune Almenning Jarstein.

England's formation was a rigid 4-4-2 against a Norway side of surprisingly limited ambition and on one of the rare occasions James Milner got in the action he forced a save from Jarstein. 

Norway, the team beaten by Wales in Gary Speed's last match in charge, had a chance early on as Green – appearing for England for the first time since his World Cup howler against the United States – was able to hold on to a drive from Henriksen.

On 32 minutes, on the few occasions Norway did fashion a chance in the England box, Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott brilliantly denied – twice – Henriksen and then Tettey.

On 37 minutes, the Liverpool skipper was lucky not to receive a card for a horrible looking challenge on right back Hogli. He went in with one foot and caught him on the follow through. Had it been a European game it would properly been a straight red. Vogli was stretchered off soon after.

4 minutes into the second half, Manchester United right back Phil Jones ran down the right hand side and his shot from 25 yards took a slight deflection off the backpedalling Hangeland and came back off the post. The second half was a scrappy affair, not helped by the disruption of substitutions.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was given his England debut late on in place of Young, while Henderson came on for Barry.

England's failure to retain the ball inevitably encouraged Norwegian pressure and keeper Robert Green needed to be alert to block John Arne Riise's powerful drive at his near post.


Ashley Young has now scored in his last 4 England Internationals. 

On the hour, Riise had another powerful drive from 18 yards which was kept out by Green, before substitute Grindheim hit a powerful effort from the edge of the box which unfortunately saw it fly wide.

Green was being busied far more than his counterpart and had to deny Rudd’s shot. England, like for most of the game, looked very good on the counter-attack and Theo Walcott with his outstanding acceleration took him away from a defender and saw his shot easily held by Jarstein.

As the game drew to a muted conclusion, there was even time for Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, who did not make England's standby list for Euro 2012, to get his first cap as an 87th-minute substitute.

It underlined the experimental nature of this fixture but with Chelsea players John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard – plus of course Wayne Rooney inevitable part, England can build on this result and will be a tough opposition to face. A fact acknowledged by Hodgson as he began his tenure with victory. 

Alex Byrom
The Football Site- Deputy Football Editor in Oslo

"Well, a win is a win. No matter how it comes. I was really impressed with Andy Carroll up front, and Ashley Young through the middle. It offers something different, a different way of playing. And with Scott Parker holding and two wingers either side it gives Steven Gerrard the license to get forward at will. I look forward to England improving on this performance when their properly at full strength with the likes of Terry, Lampard and Rooney to return.  It was not a vintage performance. No, more the opposite: tough to break down as Hodgson't teams are, and some excellent counter attacking football. Of course there is still a lot of work to do in regards to the formation, i.e. what the final formaton's going to be, especially when Rooney is playing, yet even though it was only 1-0 it was a step in the right direction."

Saturday 26th May 2012

Euro 2012 Warm-Up: International Friendly

The Ulleval National Stadium, Oslo


Norway 0-1 England                         KO 7:45pm               (HT 0-1)

                Young 9


Norway:  01. Jarstein- 5/10, 02. Hogli- 5.5/10 (Ruud 40- 4.5/10)  05. Hangeland (C)- 4/10, 04. Demidov- 5.5/10, 04. Riise- 6.5/10 , 07. Henriksen- 6/10 (Berisha 84- 1.5/10), 15. Tettey- 6/10 (Jenssen 90), 21. Bratten- 5.5/10 (Huseklepp 74- 3/10), 11. Pedersen- 6/10 (Grindheim 62- 3/10), 09. Abdellaoui- 5/10, 10. Elyounossi- 6/10.

Subs not used:  12. Pettersen (GK), 03. Madsen. 

Booked:      None


England:  01. Green- 6.5/10, 02. Jones- 7/10 (Kelly 88- 1.5/10), 04. Jagielka- 7.5/10, 06. Lescott- 7.5/10, 03. Baines- 6.5/10, 07. Milner- 5/10, 08. Parker- 7/10 (Walcott 56- 4/10), 04. Gerrard (C)- 7/10 (Barry 46- 4/10(Henderson 83- 2.5/10) , 11. Downing- 5/10 (Johnson 85- 1/10), 10. Young- 8/10 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72- 2.5/10), 09. Carroll- 7.5/10.

Subs not used:  13. Hart (GK), 18. Defoe

Booked:      None

My Man of the Match:      Ashley Young (England)- Rating 8/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:      Brede Hangeland (Norway)- Rating 4/10

Referee: Michael Weiner (Germany)- 6.5/10
Attendance: 21,496

Match Facts

Norway- 52%                England- 48%

Shots: Norway- 14                England- 8

Shots on target: Norway- 9                England- 5

Shots off target: Norway- 5                England- 3

Corners: Norway- 10                England- 2

Fouls: Norway- 4                England- 6

Offside: Norway- 5                England- 4

Assists: Norway- None                England- Carroll

Egil Olsen - Norway Manager

"Roy [Hodgson]'s teams are always well setup but you need creative players who can do spectacular things - like the goal [by Ashley Young] for example. I didn't see much of that against us tonight and at this stage there is nothing I can do about it."

For the full interview with the Norway boss - click here

Roy Hodgson - England Manager

"Very satisfactory! To come to Oslo and win is not an every day thing, so to come here and win so i'm very satisfied. I'm only very satisfied with the discipline and work rate of the players; they put in an excellent evening's work to get the result and there were many positives to come out of the game. Now, i'm looking forward to next week's match [against Belgium at Wembley] when we welcome back the Chelsea boys and Wayne Rooney will join us so lots of quality to come into the squad."

Click here to hear the full interview with Roy Hodgson 

Click here to hear Captain Steven Gerrard's thoughts

Click here to hear the thoughts of Mark Lawrenson on England's prospects

Gareth Barry ruled out through injury - full story here

Match Highlights here

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