Embarrassment for Norway at the Cardiff City Stadium 19/11/2011Posted by NB in Cardiff City.
Tags: Andrew Crofts, Craig Bellamy, Darcy Blake, Drillo, Egil Olsen, Erik Huseklepp, Gareth Bale, Sam Vokes, Wayne Hennessey
Wales 4 Norway 1, Cardiff City Stadium
From a Norwegian point of view the defeat against Wales last Saturday at the
Cardiff City Stadium was a huge dissapointment and the 1-4 scoreline was embarrassing. For Wales it was a brilliant match and a great result that gives
continued optimism ahead of the World Cup qulaifiers. As a Cardiff City
supporter, I must admit I wasn’t that saddened by the outcome.
The Wales starting line-up included four ex-Cardiff City players: Adam Matthews, Chris Gunter, Aron Ramsey and Craig Bellamy, and one current Bluebird: Darcy Blake. Robert Earnshaw was on the bench, which hopefully means that he’s fit again.
Norway boss Egil Olsen said before the match that he feared Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy the most, and the two wingers proved “Drillo” right in his worrying by scoring a goal each and playing superbly as the young, fine playing Welsh side tore Norway apart.
There was a lot of talk in Norway before the game about “Drillo” going to experiment with a 4-4-2 formation. Experiment he did, and it was a complete fiasco. Norway reverted to the familiar 4-5-1 after just 14 minutes, but Wales were already 1-0 up by then, and a minute later Bellamy made it two.
Norway goalkeeper Jarstein should have done better to keep out Bales fierce shot, but he could do nothing about Bellamy’s brilliant curler making it 2-0. The midfield and defence must share the blame for that one.
Darcy Blake was Cardiff’s only player in the starting line up, and I thought he played very well. Norwegian TV2′s commentator, Øyvind Alsaker, said so too during the second half, and Wales boss Gary Speed praised the center half after the match saying he’s been Wales’ most consistent player in the last five matches and that he’s a Premier League class player.
At first I thought Blake should have done better when Erik Huseklepp scored for Norway, but having seen the replays, it’s obvious that it was Andrew Crofts in addition to goalkeeper Wayne Hennesey that were to blame for what was, as Dagbladet’s Morten Pedersen described it, “more of an own goal than an own goal”.
“Norway edged back into the game and when towering Portsmouth striker Erik Huseklepp latched onto some sloppy defending involving Hennessey and centre back Darcy Blake to fire into an empty net six yards out.”
Why on earth is there no mention of Crofts?
Blake didn’t follow Huseklepp’s run in behind him right befroe the goal, but he shouldn’t have had to either. Crofts should have followed the Norwegians run, and then when it seemed Huseklepp had wasted the chance, Hennesey’s sloppy handling dropping the ball onto the leg of Crofts gifted Huseklepp his easiest goal ever.
Craig Bellamy I thought was impressive as always. Bellamy has actually played a lot more minutes for Wales than Liverpool since his transfer from Manchester City in the summer, and it must be frustrating for him not playing more for the Reds. Even when he’s scored he’s been on the bench for the next match. He has in many ways chosen it himself though. I don’t know what prospects Kenny Dalglish gave him when he signed him, but at the moment I feel he’s wasting away at Liverpool only slightly less than he did while being frozen out at Manchester City. Bellamy should have returned to Cardiff. It’s as simple as that.
Having pulled a goal back, although in a not so impressive fashion, you could perhaps expect a fightback from Norway, but Wales weren’t finished and with two minutes to go a great counter attack involving both Bale and Bellamy ended with Sam Vokes scoring when John Arne Riise, in his 100th apperance for Norway, didn’t do as well as you’d expect from a such experienced player in marking the Wolves forward.
Just a minute later Vokes scored again. Having picked up the ball after a horrible mistake from a Norwegian not managing a simple five meter pass, Vokes raced foward and fired a well placed shot from distance in behind Espen Bugge Pettersen in the Norwegian goal.
The humiliation was complete. Never before in well over a hundred matches under “Drillo” have Norway let in four goals, and many of those matches have been against very strong nations.
It’s never nice seeing your country lose, especially not 1-4 and playing badly, but for me at least it was a consolation that it happened against Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium!