Soccer: Norway upsets Germany 1-0
Norway beat Germany for the first time in 73 years when it upset the European Championship runner-up 1-0 in a friendly Wednesday Feb. 11.
Christian Grindheim scored the winning goal in the 63rd minute, slotting home at the far post from close range. Germany fell to its second consecutive loss, after the 2-1 defeat by England in November in Berlin. The first — and only previous time — Norway had beaten Germany was a 2-0 victory at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
Winless in 2008, Norway won its first game under new coach Egil “Drillo” Olsen despite missing some of its biggest stars. John Arne Riise was suspended, while John Carew, Steffen Iversen and Mohammed Abdellaoue were injured. Drillo took over as interim coach for the Norwegian national team only four weeks ago, after an absence of 10 year. Loew has previously called him the “inventor” of the well-organized Norwegian system.
Germany coach Joachim Loew was hoping Norway would play a defensive game to prepare his team for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. He got more than he’d bargained for. Norway allowed Germany few chances, while creating several of its own with fast breaks.
Norway defended well in the first half and caught Germany by surprise by several swift counterattacks. The Scandinavians were also unlucky not to get a penalty call early in the game.
The Germans came closest to scoring in the 30th minute when Philipp Lahm sent a curling shot from outside the penalty area just wide of the far post. Norway goalkeeper Rune Almenning Jarstein saved his team in the 58th minute by diving to his left to turn the ball away when Mario Gomez connected with a powerful volley from the edge of the penalty area. Per Ciljan Skjelbred shot just over the goal in the 74th after another Norwegian fast break.
The game was Germany’s only warm-up before it plays Liechtenstein and Wales in World Cup qualifiers on March 28 and April 1, respectively.