Ashley Young's goal gave England an encouraging win in Roy Hodgson's first game ahead of Euro 2012
Good evening. During England training yesterday, Roy Hodgson could be heard telling his players to stop fannying about with all that short passing "if you want to use your big man up front". The big man in question is Andy Carroll, fresh from starring in one-and-a-half decent games at the end of the season, one of them against a rather merry John Terry. Oh Roy. Oh Roy. If this all goes pear-shaped, and there's every chance it will, that quote is going to be up there with Graham Taylor's infamous "can we not knock it?" Taylor's England career was effectively ended by a disastrous defeat away to Norway in a qualifier for the 1994 World Cup, but this is just the start for Hodgson in Oslo tonight. His has been a low-key introduction, although he'll be feeling the heat if England lose – even though he has to make do with an experimental side in his first match in the build-up to Euro 2012.
No England manager has lost his first match in charge since Sir Alf Ramsey. Then again, he didn't do too badly and a load of good that particularly statistic has done Ramsey's successors. Should England suffer defeat against a country they haven't beaten since 1980, a run spanning five games, then it will be important to remember it's just the first game and there are big players still to come back into the side. Yet Hodgson may suffer more than others would simply by virtue of not being
people's choice Harry Redknapp, and his ill-fated spell at Liverpool fills some supporters with a sense of dread.
Early impressions have been mixed. On the one hand, Hodgson has spoken intelligently, downplaying expectations, and has brought Gary Neville on to his coaching staff. On the other, he has shown no inclination to revamp a tired, tatty squad, one full of players weighed down by the memory of previous tournament failures, not least the last World Cup. To paraphrase Einstein, insanity is defined as watching Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard prove incompatible in the same midfield and then thinking you can get Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to function in the same midfield. Despite all previous evidence, it appears that they will be in England's midfield during the Euros, partnered by one of Barriesta or Scott Parker. The omission of Micah Richards and the inclusion of Stewart Downing is another one to ponder. Then there's John Terry. And no Rio Ferdinand.
That said, for all we wish to quibble about the squad, the reality is there's not a great deal out there. Personally I find the absence of Michael Carrick depressing, but maybe it wouldn't make a huge difference. Finally, then, the dawning realisation for many in this country that England just aren't very good at football, like when humans realised the earth is flat for the very first time. Not so much a 'Eureka' moment, more 'How could we have been so stupid? We tried to win two World Cups with Emile Heskey up front'. In that context, perhaps Hodgson is just the man to get a average bunch of players perform averagely in an average side, boring their way averagely to average Euro 2012 glory. Yes, that'll be it. The only problem with that idea is whether the more egomaniacal members of the squad - and you know who they are - will accept their limitation and let Hodgson get on with it.
Team news. With several starters missing, mainly the Chelsea players, England are as expected. Isn't this an inspiring selection? It'll be good to see what exciting young prospect Stewart Downing can bring to the side. I hear he's had a terrific season at Liverpool after his £20m move. Six substitutions can be made.
Norway (4-1-4-1): Jarstein, Hogli, Demidov, Hangeland, Riise; Tettey; Elyounoussi, Henriksen, Gamst Pedersen, Braaten; Moa. Subs: Pettersen, Madsen, Ruud, Grindheim, Huseklepp, Jenssen, Berisha.
England (4-2-3-1): Green; Jones, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines; Parker, Gerrard; Milner, Young, Downing;
Engelbert Humperdinck Carroll. Subs: Hart, Kelly, Henderson, Barry, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Defoe, A Johnson.
BREAKING NEWS! Every player involved in that Mars advert will not be allowed to take part in Euro 2012 on the grounds of taste.
Blimey. What's happened to that famous German efficiency in the last week? Germany have been beaten 5-3 in Switzerland. They're many people's favourites for the tournament, but that's not the most encouraging of starts. It should be pointed out that their Bayern Munich players didn't feature. Elsewhere Spain strolled to a 2-0 win over Serbia. This was the Germany team.
Ter Stegen, Höwedes, Hummels, Mertesacker, Marcel Schmelzer, Khedira, Schurrle, Gotze, Ozil, Podolski, Klose.
It's pretty strong.
Well you're all excited. "It is gloriously sunny outside yet I am staying indoors with my curtains shut," says Liam Moseley. "Why? Because I am bound to be entertained by this England side. New era, new optimism. Look at that midfield. Woof!!!!" I'm wearing shorts and flip flops in the office.
Not that Egil Olsen emails in. "Phil Thompson - who played in the one-hell-of-a-beating game in 1981 - and his giant beak are guests in Norwegian TV2's pre-match studio, and Phil's just claimed that when former caretaker manager Stuart Pearce opted to hand an entirely inconsequential armband to a man named Scott rather than a man named Steve it was a DISGRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! because... I didn't understand by which logic it was a disgrace, to be honest. Anyway, it must be a relief to the great English people that the phonetically challenged new boss has put an end to this DISGRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ful state of affairs. As for the game, although Big Brede should be able to deal with Steven Seagal comfortably enough, our line-up doesn't fill me with much confidence: that midfield looks strangely unbalanced. Am hoping Valon Berisha gets a chance to shine in the second half: although he plays for Hodgson's former club Viking, he's an excitingish prospect who can run at the ball with pace (or, possibly, vice versa) and 'packs a mean shot'."
"It seems to be that Hodgson's comment about not always playing the short passing game when "big" Andy Carroll's on up front is being used as a stick of convenience by people who already wanted to beat the new England manager," says Patrick Cullen. "A lot of the same people criticizing Hodgson now for suggesting his players take a more direct approach to bringing Carroll into the game spent a large part of last season having a go at Dalglish for trying to make Carroll play a short passing game he's not suited to rather than playing to his strengths. Just saying, like..."
Isn't the solution, then, to not play a big man if he only has one way of playing? But there are plenty of good teams with big strikers who don't automatically hit it long every time.
"Who did you piss off to get the MBM's today Jacob?" says John Reid. "Firstly one of the dullest play-off finals of all time, and then an inevitably disappointing England friendly. At least you'll be able to see the football stylings of Stewart Downing in 'full flow'." And I bought everyone Calippos.
The teams are in the tunnel. England's players are holding roses, which they will give to the Norway players to pass on to the home fans as a mark of respect for the massacre by Anders Breivik in Norway last year.
Out they come. This, by the way, is Robert Green's first England game since his mistake against the USA in the last World Cup. He could do with a good game tonight.
The anthems. Impeccably observed. They'll be playing football next!
1 min: And so the Roy Hodgson era begins in earnest, Norway kicking off and attacking from right to left. The ball spends much of the first minute high in the air. England have lined up with Milner on the right and Downing on the left. Downing's first contribution is to give a free-kick away halfway inside his own half. "The big plus of omitting Heskey is he won't put our best defender out of the tournament in a training session before the start," parps John Atherton. "The big minus is Roy has already omitted our best defender so as not to offend the First Man on the Moon, the best man at last year's royal wedding, shin pad wearer on all occasions, JT."
2 min: The Sloop John B is polluting my ears. Right, that's it, abandon the match posthaste. "Shorts and flip flops?" blasts Matt Dony. "In the office? I'm sorry, but any form of journalism (even a humble MBM) should include mandatory trilbies, double breasted suits, and cigarettes. Where do you think you are, Butlins?" Don't hate fashion.
3 min: Have we won Eurovision yet?
4 min: Robert Green takes a goal-kick and manages not to score an own goal in the process. Onwards and upwards. From there, the old Downing-Carroll combination flickers into life, as has been the case so often this season. Ah. Downing makes space for the cross from the left and Carroll gets ahead of his marker, only to head wide of the left post when he really should have scored. "Now Downing has many flaws, but one thing makes him completely unsuitable for England," says A Mistry. "He shaves his legs, at least it looked that way in a close up. We England fans want grit and determination and manly men to represent us."
5 min: With all this talk about the big man up front, it's been interesting to hear talk about all the unnoticed work that Emile Heskey put in during his career. But if it was unnoticed, how do we know he did it? Perhaps he was just lying all along. Imagine if I just wrote nothing for the rest of the match and then explained that you just weren't noticing my work. I'm on to you, Emile.
7 min: Both sides are favouring the long ball in the first 10 minutes, although remarkably England look more comfortable when passing it along the floor.
8 min: So comfortable, in fact, that Scott Parker panics about all this possession and expertly picks out the Norway goalkeeper with a ball over the top from the halfway line. There we go. "Look on the bright side, it's the Eurovision Song Contest tonight, so you can turn the sound off on the football and have the Euro-cheese on instead, which should make the match a lot more entertaining," says Robin Hazlehurst. "If you're lucky you'll get a Benny-Hill-stylee-thingy as Downing dribbles the length of the pitch chased by the entire Norwegian team while a tinny piano goes mental in the background. Surely that would make it all worth it?"
BRILLIANT GOAL! Norway 0-1 England (Young, 9 min): Ashley Young gives Roy Hodgson the perfect start as England manager with a magnificent goal. We're going to win the Euros! He brought down a high ball with a fine first touch, and suddenly found himself up against two Norway defenders. A clever run from Gerrard took one defender away and left Young one-on-one with Hangeland, who was far too exposed. Young beat him down the outside with a lovely feint, making the defender look extremely leaden-footed, and then drilled a composed finish low past Jarstein from 15 yards out. That's his fourth goal in his last four games for England.
Harry for England!
12 min: Green is forced into his first save of the match. Moa caused trouble on the edge of the England area with a meandering run across the 18-yard line. Eventually the ball ran to Henriksen, who pounded a shot towards the near post, which Green tipped behind. But he's nearly embarrassed by the resulting corner from Pedersen. He stepped out in a bid to catch the cross but was completely deceived by its flight and was in no man's land when it clanged against the near post. What a let-off. England had no one on the post and it would have gone in.
14 min: Norway don't look like they're up to much, but England appear confident and are playing with a clarity and belief we don't usually see from them.
15 min: Young is giving the Norway defence repeated headaches. Gerrard lobs a pass over the top for him, but Young can't quite catch the volley cleanly and skews it harmlessly over the bar. I like Young. He's a smart player.
17 min: "Like cheap, hurriedly put together CGI, Rob Green is embarrassingly unconvincing," offers Steven Hughes. He seems to be so nervous for England. He's been an excellent goalkeeper for West Ham for six years. He has essentially won games for them on his own.
18 min: Pedersen chips a cross into the area and Braaten heads over under pressure from Lescott. There was no danger at all. "Well, now we are in the process of hammering Norway, can anyone see a team to stop us now?" says Neil Stainthorpe. "And what do the Norwegians think of this?"
19 min: "I can't believe it. It was a chance for a new beginning, have a clear out and get rid of those people who have annoyed and frustrated so many for so long," says Neil Blakely. "Yet still they persist with them. Seriously, when are they going to get rid of that band?" Imagine if you got to your seat, only to find you were sitting next to them for 90 minutes.
21 min: Riise storms past a non-existent challenge from Parker on the left and curves a low cross into the six-yard box. Abdellaoue attacks it, trying to poke the ball past Green, but Jagielka denies him. Why was Parker in the right-back position? What was Phil Jones up to?
22 min: Elyounoussi tries to hammer one; Parker's bravely in the way. Expect to see that a lot over the next few weeks. "Hearing Andy Townsend commentate this match reminds me what a shame Jack Wilshere isn't fit right now," says Charlie Allen. "Constant appeals to get the ball 'in the mixer' so Andy Caroll can 'get his head on it' - agricultural football, the sort that is the antithesis of the dynamic 1-2 passing kind of play Jack fosters and employs."
25 min: England are well-drilled, compact and hard to break down. Hodgsonian.
26 min: Downing will be pleased with his input so far. He wrongfoots Hogli by the corner flag and then curls in a cross that Jarstein claws away in unconvincing fashion.
27 min: Carroll is sprung clear down the inside-right channel by Milner, the Norway defence nowhere to be seen. He has Young all alone through the middle and though the flag stays down, Carroll's pass is overhit. Composure required. But it was good to see him show he offers more than just a vague target for hopeful punts.
30 min: "Michael Carrick?" says Harry Seekings. "Did you ever watch footage of him being bypassed in the midfield when Man Utd played Barcelona in the Champions League last. It was embarrassing. He was ponderous, made no tackles and spent the whole game catching flies." Yes, Carrick is indeed the first and only player to be made to look second-rate by Barcelona's midfield. Well done.
31 min: England are actually playing some very good passing football. They're even trying some intricate triangles and some of them are even coming off. I know! It's good to see. It must be said that Norway look like they'd rather be on the beach at the moment though.
33 min: Pedersen shoots, Parker blocks.
34 min: Milner draws a fine save out of Jarstein, although he would have been disappointed if he had let the shot in. The chance arose from Milner's own industry as he went on a strong run down the right flank. Once in the area, he sold Riise a dummy, perused his options and then cracked a low shot goalwards that Jarstein got down well to save.
36 min: Abdellaoue almost gets his head to Pedersen's corner from the right. The corner flashes to Carroll, who does well not to slice the ball into his own goal on the volley. Moments later, Abdellaoue works a yard of space on the edge of the area but skims his shot wide.
37 min: If this wasn't a friendly, Steven Gerrard might have been booked at least here. He lunged into a challenge with Hogli, who felt the full force of it. Gerrard did get the ball and it was one-footed, with the studs down, but it was overly forceful and overly rash, especially in a friendly. Not a red card, but certainly a booking and Hogli is hurt.
39 min: Hogli is off receiving treatment, so Norway are momentarily down to 10 men. "Ah - good to see that the Jack Wilshere bandwagon is rolling already," says Gary Naylor. "The longer he stays out of this England side, the better player he will become, quite possibly eclipsing Lionel Messi by the end of the Euros. But he's nor really very good is he? The last world class player we had was Gazza (for about ten minutes) then Lineker, then... er..." Er... Ashley Cole? Rio Ferdinand? Wayne Rooney? And are you quite sure? Wilshere is quite clearly going to be one of the best midfielders in Europe, assuming he gets over his injury problems.
41 min: Hogli's evening has been ended by that Gerrard foul. Ruud comes on for Norway. "How are you feeling about Green in goal?" asks Simon Brereton. "Will a good campaign turn his head or help him realise West Ham is home? As a Liverpool fan I'm always unsettled when players get called up (mostly just for England - the others don't tend to come back injured as often), but I can understand why most England fans would share my distress this time around. 3 players - a quarter of the team from the club that finished in 8th? That's pretty poor pickings." It won't matter because Green won't start ahead of Joe Hart.
43 min: Sloppy play from Gerrard, stumbling with the ball in his own half under miniscule pressure, leads to Ruud winning a corner for Norway. Gerrard atones for his mistake by heading Pedersen's inswinger away. "Is it me or is this a bit dull?" says Phil; Sawyer. "I missed the goal as I was watching the end of the cricket highlights. I've missed the only exciting thing that's going to happen in this match, haven't I? Well, barring Green accidentally standing on the ball causing it to squirt from under his foot and ping off the backs of Lescott and Jagielka and into his own net. Which is going to happen." From time to time, England have played some attractive football, but basically they are the superior of two average sides. France will not be worried.
Half time: Norway 0-1 England. Arise Sir Roy.
Half time emails.
"I find it really harsh that Michael Carrick is constantly labelled a poor player because of his performance in the 2009 final," says Liam Moseley. "He was not the only player who was poor. However this season he has been excellent. Which is all the more impressive considering his midfield partner has been either a converted winger, a converted centre back or a guy who this time last year was retired. Or Anderson. I would rather have his calmness and good positional sense than any of the other England central midfielders. But that is just me."
"10 outfield players in and around the area when defending a corner against Norway?!" says Dave Badger. "When did counter-attacking go out of fashion?"
"How can Gerrard be England captain," says Peter Williams. "Hopelessly poor."
"Charlie Allen's point about England's Carroll-centric agricultural football is well made," says Justin Kavanagh. "But against the likes of France, with the 6'2" Benzema, and Sweden, with the 6'5" Ibrahimovic, they'll be up against teams whose big men are of the product of more organic footballing agricultures. Another summer of swedes and turnips lies ahead."
"Believe me when I tell you I'd be the last person to stick up for Ashley Cole, but he was immense in the champs league final," says Martin Kings. "I'd put him as one of the best left backs in the world. Incidentally, on another note, I was reading the Daily Mail the day after and they awarded him 6/10 for his performance. Were they even watching the game? This has got to be the most laughable score for a performance I've ever seen."
"I truly, truly hope Andy Carroll has a great Euros," says Hubert O'Hearn. "Oh he had a dreadful season, no doubt about that. But he seems a nice enough young man who just got horribly beaten up by fans and media alike. You could virtually see it when he had a scoring chance, 'Oh hell if I miss what are they all going to say?' So of course he'd miss with that thought in his head. Then he finally had the breakthrough moment of, 'To hell with all you bastards.' Go get 'em Big Man!"
"Lescott, Jagielka and Baines at the back, a dearth of decent strikers and a ok team just lacking that little touch of quality needed to land a trophy," says Alex Hanton. "I feel like i'm watching Everton 08/09 all over again. Lovely stuff."
46 min: England have brought on Gareth Barry for Tackling's Steven Gerrard at half time. First half good. Will second half be good? "Harry Seekings is probably one of the reasons that England play such agricultural, lunkheaded football," says Andrew Mullinder. "Carrick is probably the best, most intelligent passer we have, and yet all we can talk about is the fact he doesn't tackle or run around enough. It's true that Man U have been overwhelmed in central midfield a few times this season, but how much of that is playing the Octogenarian Scholes alongside him? There's more to defending than kicking the opposition, as Busquets and Alonso show every week (and remember Guardiola and Redondo?). And speaking of Alonso, Mourinho understands that such a player needs a runner next to him, which is why he plays Khedira there. Ferguson obviously doesn't, but surely Parker is ready-made for that job? One of the main frustrations of being an England fan is England fans." This.
47 min: Ashley Young engages the Norway defence again with another promising run. Just as he's about to either shoot or take on Hangeland, his heels are clipped by Demidov on the edge of the D.
48 min: Baines tries to whip the free-kick low across Jarstein, but the goalkeeper matches with him with a good save down to his left. It was sneaking into the corner, so it was a crucial touch.
49 min: Phil Jones hits the post for England. He was allowed to drive into a disgracefully large gap through the Norway middle and then decides to have a pop from 20 yards out. It's not a particularly good effort, but deflects off Hangeland's chest, taking it past Jarstein and on to the base of the right post. For some reason, a free-kick is awarded to Norway. Beats me.
51 min: After a load of faffing about on the edge of the area from various Norway players, finally Pedersen elects to shoot from 25 yards out. A decent effort, but it goes a few yards wide of the left post. Green had it covered. "Watching an ITV stream here in New Zealand, half time chat with the Three Stooges," says Mark. :Roy Keane looks thoroughly bored and ready for a fight but Peter Reid is morphing into Sid James, just waiting for the laugh!"
53 min: England are not keeping the ball well at all. It's so often the way. "In case you're wondering, The Hump put in a decent enough performance, but the highlight so far has been the Russian grannies," says Mark Gillies. "They rocked. Doesn't sound like I'm missing much by having to watch this instead of the footy." Have England won yet?
54 min: Maybe this is too presumptive, but I don't think England are going to be winning many plaudits for their entertaining football this summer.
56 min: Theo Walcott replaces Scott Parker. Walcott moves to the right, and James Milner moves into the middle alongside Gareth Barry.
57 min: England have barely put two passes together in the second half. "Have you noticed it's only left feet that are 'educated'?" says Sean Welch. Or cultured. They're also cultured. Right-footers have more fun.
58 min: Braaten cuts inside from the left and his low shot is deflected across the area by Milner. It could have gone anywhere. Instead it fell to a team-mate and England clear. On the bench, Scott Parker's ankle is strapped up heavily.
60 min: Walcott has a chance to beat Hangeland on the edge of the area, but forgets that vital ingredient: taking the ball with him. The move fizzles out. "I'm afraid I really don't rate Phil Jones as a right-back," says Gene Mackie. "In the modern game, wingers cut inside and act as playmakers (unless your name is Antonio Valencia), and therefore overlapping full-backs do the wingers' job: hug the line, get level with the box and swing in a cross. They need to be pacy and have good positioning. Jones, going by tonight, has very poor positional sense, isn't particularly quick and can't cross. I understand Walker and Johnson being the first choices, but Jones over Richards? At right-back?" He had an awful second half to the season, although he is a centre-back by trade. He should make it, but there's plenty of room for improvement.
62 min: Riise takes down a high pass on his chest on the touchline and then goes past a lily-livered challlenge from Walcott with embarrassing ease. From a ridiculous angle, he tries to score instead of crossing it. Green pushes it behind. Some respect please.
63 min: Holland have been beaten 2-1 at home by Bulgaria. Pah, what do friendlies tell you anyway?
65 min: "Can any of the MbM-ers explain why Frazer Forster isn't in the England squad?" says Andrew Mullinder. "As far as I understand, we now have Fourth Division Cheltenham Town's 19 year old keeper as our number three, which, with the greatest respect to Jack Butland, I think we can all agree is a sad state of affairs. But Frazer Forster, Newcastle's 6"7 24 year old keeper, has been on loan at Celtic for two years, where he's made the number 1 jersey his own. But he doesn't seem to be in the frame. Why?" I think it's generally accepted that the standard in League Two is higher than that of the Scottish Premier League.
66 min: After an abject pass from Barry, Ruud's cross from the right is only half-cleared by Jones. Henriksen's header finds Abdellaoue inside the area. He manages to bustle past Baines, and then goes down as Lescott clears behind, claiming a foul from the sprawling Baines. Nothing doing and Green catches the resulting corner from Riise.
68 min: Riise's cross from the left ends up at the feet of Grindheim 25 yards out. His shot is still rising. "If England are playying Andy Carroll for agricultural football can we call him the bovine ponytail," honks Derek Summers.
70 min: After a long throw from
Delap Riise, Ruud's shot is charged down by Milner for a corner, which comes to nothing. England have done nothing as an attacking force for ages now.
72 min: "Well said, Gary Naylor. Wilshere is ridiculously over-rated....just like his equally obnoxious mentor, Fabregas," says Andy Byrne. "In a perfect world, Real Madrid would sign Twitter Jack and go through the same trophy-less season which ex-Arsenal players can never shrug off." I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic but, er, Samir Nasri? Gael Clichy? Kolo Toure?
73 min: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on to make his England debut in place of Ashley Young. Now then. Gareth Barry, who came on at half time, has a groin strain and is replaced by Jordan Henderson.
74 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain could have scored a gorgeous goal immediately. Milner found him with a pass on the edge of the area and he cushioned a perfect pass through to Walcott, who tried to return it to him, only for a Norway defender to get in the way as Oxlade-Chamberlain prepared to shoot. Eric Huselkepp is on for Braaten for Norway.
77 min: Clive Tyldelsey has just suggested that this England performance has hinted at "something special" this summer. It really hasn't.
78 min: Riise's corner from the right comes all the way to the far post for Henriksen, who helpfully clears it for England. Riise tries again and when his cross is headed out to Ruud, his bouncing volley is easily saved by Green.
80 min: Andy Carroll. Srsly?
81 min: Walcott's backpass from 20 yards out is saved by Jarstein.
82 min: Tonight's game has been sponsored by huff and puff.
84 min: Henriksen is replaced by the teenager Berisha.
85 min: Stewart Downing put in a good cross after three minutes that should have been scored by Carroll. He hasn't done much since then and now his evening is over; Adam Johnson replaces him.
86 min: Elyounoussi's shot is deflected behind for yet another Norway corner. Under huge pressure, Green punches Riise's corner away. Green has had a competent game apart from one dodgy moment.
88 min: Martin Kelly comes on for his England debut, replacing Phil Jones. England will be furious with themselves if they let Norway come up with an equaliser.
90 min: Abdellaoue shoots from 30 yards out. Speculative. And wide.
90 min+1: There will be four minutes of stoppage time. Jenssen comes on for Tettey. We've been winding down the clock for a long time now. "As a Norwegian anglophile, I think it's been a perfect match by England," says Christian Busaet. "Leading, and perhaps winning, is just enough to keep the confidence high, and expectations low. A bit worrying to be out played in the second half, by a poor Norwegian side, though..."
90 min+3: Andy Carroll receives possession in the centre circle. Does that make him a False Nine?
90 min+4: Andy Carroll brings the ball down on his chest and finds Adam Johnson, who is called "Downing" by Tyldelsley. They all look the same. Johnson tries to curl one in from 25 yards out but Jarstein saves.
Full time: Norway 0-1 England. The Roy Hodgson era ends with a win. BRING ON EUROPE!!! Overall it was a fairly encouraging performance in parts. They passed it crisply in the first half, defended well and Ashley Young scored a magnificent individual goal to win the match. They were never troubled by Norway, but Hodgson will be worried by their failure to keep the ball in the second half and the manner in which they were pressed back by the home side. There are things to work on and players to come into the side. A win's a win. Thanks for reading. Night.