There was great concern in the Norwegian fjords and the rest of the
country as our favrorite coach of all time (Egil "Drillo" Olsen) had handed
in the towel. Sad but true. Nils Johan Semb, our new head coach, wasn't
a revoulution, just a normal coach. Soon we realized that he wasn't a blue
print of Drillo even though he wouldn't totally abandon the Drillo style.
He uses the same formation as Drillo (4-5-1) and roughly the same
players. Except that Semb also uses Norwegian players that play for
Norwegian clubs, Drillo didn't do that at all!

How would our new an strange prove himself on the sidelines? Our first
match was in Oslo, against Lativa. Norway was like : Hey, this will be a
blast! They're number 83 on the FIFA ranking, we're 16. Well beat them
with at least 10 goals! Then came the cruel reality. Latvia won 4-1!
The people that had taken a trip to "Ullevaal" (our international stadium)
were so mad after the loss, that they yelled "DRILLO DRILLO" after the
game. We wanted our good 'ol coach back! Not this pathtic newcomer!
And the next match was just as bad. Now we didn't care about any
ranking anymore, because we wanted a WIN.

But the next qualification match was against Slovenia, we lost that 2-1,
in Ljubljana. By now our new coach must have been blessed by the
allmighty God, or just figured out how he should utilize the power within
the Norwegian national team! What came next now was a draw 2-2
against Albania. And then came what we all wanted to see. Top form,
excellent play, Clever tactics. 7 wins in a row :
Georgia 1-4         Norway
Norway 1-0         Georgia
Albania 1-2         Norway
Norway 1-0         Greece
Norway 4-0         Slovenia
Latvia 1-2         Norway
By now Nils Johan Semb had proved himself. Everyone can have
a bad start. Now both the press and the people love Semb. He's not
Drillo, but that just isn't his intention either.

Then there was a long break in play, just a few friendly matches. I
can't remember any match in particular, but if my memory serves me
correctly, we didn't have any major losses.

We played against Slovakia the 7th of May. No big deal, we had a GREAT
1st half, and a boring defense oriented 2nd half. That's how friendlies
just in front of a big tournament should be. We won the match by 2-0 (not
100% sure on this...). Our ultimate test will be on the next Saturday at
Ullevaal stadium (against Italy). If we win this one, we can win just
about anything! And I think we'll win it too.

So in conclusion, our shape is quite good actually. There has been a lot
of hassle about injured players. But in the end the players that's out
of the squad because of injury are : Erik Hoftun from Rosenborg, Ronny
Johnsen from Man U and Jan Derek Sorensen from Rosenborg. And
Steffen Iversen has a bad muscle, but that's no real problem, he'll
probably be ready for the match against Italy. At least he's ready for the
opening match against Spain.



First some basic stats taken from (the official site) :

Club : Manchester United FC
Born : 01/09/1969
Height : 1.84m
Weight : 78kg

Position : Defender
Shirt Number : 4
Caps : 71
Goals : 8

What people know Berg for his part of the defense on Man U. The man
backing up Jaap Stam. Berg is a rock solid defender. Always keeps cool,
waits patiently for the attacker to do his moves, then he attacks
without mercy. What he doesn't have in terms of speed, he gains in
superb tackle skills and coolness. Berg is an important part of, not
just the defense, but the entire team. He's a natural leader, he's
captain if Kjetil Rekdal isn't playing. Berg is a player full of routine, both
internationally and nationally. Both at club level, and on the Norwegian
national team. He will play an important part in the chess game that
Semb will stage the coming weeks!


First some basic stats taken from (the official site) :

Club : TSV München 1860
Born : 21/07/1971
Height : 1.72m
Weight : 63kg

Position : Midfielder
Shirt Number : 7
Caps : 71
Goals : 2

Who said that Norwegian soccer is boring? Everyone? Well, this player
sees it as his mission to prove the opposite! The jewel of a midfielder
is a real artist with and without the ball. I simply have to quote the
official Euro 2000 page on this guy. After stating that the creative
side of the game will surely fall on this little man's shoulders they
said this, and I couldn't have put it any better :

"That should not be too much of a problem for the man known as ‘The
Mosquito’ for his skills in sneaking up unnoticed and harassing
opponents before delivering slide rule passes through to his strikers."

He really is known as "The Mosquito", but not because of what they say
(although he does that a lot). The real reason for his nick name is
because he's only 1.72m tall. And his name (Mykland) resembles the
Norwegian name for a mosquito ("mygg" in Norwegian). But back to the
player : He's a fast paced, tecnically brilliant, and a funny player. He
is also honest, he tells his opinions no matter what they are. Drillo
wasn't too keen about that fact. So in in conclusion, expect to see a
lot of techical stuff and excellent passes from this guy!


First some basic stats taken from (the official site) :

Club : Chelsea FC
Born : 15/06/1973
Height : 1.93m
Weight : 86kg

Position : Forward
Shirt Number : 9
Caps : 47
Goals : 21

Here I had no doubt what I should write about. This is a WORLD-CLASS
striker (many will claim that Solskjær is better, but i dont think so).
He's fast, strong, and has plenty of lust for scoring goals. He plays at
Chelsea FC normally. In ANY other team, he's among the starting eleven.
But since Vialli is only after big names, big profiles and BIG money,
Flo isn't playing on the football pitch at a regular basis. That's such
a shame. Flo certainly is the best known player on our team. You can ask
every defender and midfielder in the world if they fear him, and about
99% of them will answer YES. The last % is Henry from Ireland, he will
say ARR. (Means yes...) :)


A warning : I'm not too excellent on this part of soccer, but I'll give
it a go.


4 people in the defense. Most likely Vegard Heggem and Andre Bergdolmo
as full-backs as well as Henning Berg and Bjorn Otto Bragstad as central
defenders. Normally Ronny Johnsen or Erik Hoftun instead of Bragstad but
both Johnsen and Hoftun are injured.

The full-backs may move upwards when Norway has ball possension. They
also have some of the responsibility for feeding Flo and the wings with
crosses and long passes.

The central defenders are always the last men in defense. The only times
you'll seen them in front of the opponents goal is on corner kicks, since
all of our midfielders are superb in aerial combat.


5 people in the midfield. Most likely "The Mosquito" as central
midfielder. Ståle Solbakken or Erik Rekdal on one side of Erik Mykland.
Bent Skammelsrud is secured the other space besides Mykland. Roar Strand
and Erik Bakke should also be mentioned as possible midfielders. Then we
have the wings. Those will be Solskjær, Iversen, and/or Carew's places
on the field.

The central midfielder will lay all those short passes in the room
between the opponents, defense and midfield.

The right and left midfielders will sometimes be a part of the
aggressive attack when Norway is in ball possesion. Rekdal will (if on
field) be our penalty shooter. Either Solbakken or Rekdal will be "The
midfield general" ("midt-bane generalen" in Norwegian...)

The wings will be apart of a new exciting system that Semb has presented
for the national team, which I'll explain later on.


The wings and the forward will switch places whenever they want to since
all of these players are excellent centre-forwards but can play on the
wing spot too.

The effects of this are many :

- confuses the opponents' defense

- if a forward has met a mental barrier (can't put the ball in the
back of the net) he can play as wing for a while and let another
one try

- the wings tend to run a bit more than the forwards, therefore we
won't have so much strain on the wings


The most obvious strength of the team is that all of our players are
experienced and play in strong clubs on a regular basis.
The more hidden strengths are the following :

- well thought trough tactics
- a flexible team, which can play both 4-5-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-2
- a good coach


- the average age of the team is nearing 30 years
- a few injured players
- Flo hasn't scored a goal in quite some time now for the national team
- Rekdal is now back at a shitty Norwegian club (Vålrenga), not Hertha
Berlin anymore

Thomas Myhre (Olsen)
Heggem Bragstad Berg Bergdolmo
Skammelsrud (Rekdal/Solbakken) Mykland Strand (Bakke)
Iversen (Carew)   Solsjær
  Tore Andre Flo  
Dag Rune Sneeggen