FULL-TIME – England secure a 1-0 win over Norway at Wembley, their first win in six games. The Three Lions dominated throughout, and after the disappointment of the 2014 World Cup, at the very least England needed a win to get public confidence back. They’ve done that, but the lack of many goals is unlikely to inspire people to starting watching the national team again. As for Norway, they lost their composure after going behind and Per-Mathias Hogmo will have to work on that, but they kept their shape and discipline admirably in the first half and threatened on the counter. They could have with more experience in their side though.
93 mins – Leighton Baines has a chance after being set up by Danny Welbeck following a surging run into the penalty. Right until the end England seem to have a positive, attacking mentality. They were attacking at the World Cup, and clearly that’s how the England manager wants his team to play.
92 mins – Halfway into the four minutes of added time and still England are pressing high when Norway have the ball. Roy Hdogson seems to have engrained a high pressing game into his new look team.
86 mins – Sterling named man of the match and rightly so. On his fifth international start, Sterling has been at the heart of almost every England attack. His run and matching control enticed Elabdellaoui to give away a penalty, and at the tip of the diamond he’s opened up gaps in Norway’s defence which didn’t exist in the first half (though fatigue has also helped).
83 mins – England’s defence also deserves credit. In general they’ve picked up their men well, kept their shape and denied Norway any space to work a chance in the last 25 minutes.
80 mins – Raheem Sterling much more effective at the tip of the diamond in the no.10 role for England. His great pace and dribbling ability has allowed him to burst his way through Norway’s midfield multiple times, and that’s allowed the likes of Welbeck and Sturridge to attack an exposed defence.
78 mins – Norway have visibly lost their confidence after conceding. They’ve lost possession on the edge of their penalty area and could have been 2-0 behind had Jordan Henderson not ruined great link-up play between Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Danny Welbeck with a poor finish.
75 mins – Good run in behind the defence by Danny Welbeck and good cross, even if it was too quick for his teammates. His pace is already having an impact in this game. He can have a good future for England if he can improve his finishing at Arsenal.
71 mins – England playing a diamond 4-4-2 formation now after Fabian Delph and James Milner come on for Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jordan Henderson is playing deep, Raheem Sterling is at the tip of the diamond with Delph and Milner in the middle. Danny Welbeck has come on for Rooney and is playing the same role.
67 mins – 1-0 ENGLAND! Wayne Rooney finishes well from the penalty spot. Omar Elabdellaoui brings down Raheem Sterling for the penalty, after the winger’s expertly played in from a long pass by Jordan Henderson. Henderson’s passing range is going to be important for England in their qualifying campaign, especially to the likes of Sterling and Sturridge. Henderson read Sterling’s run and played in a perfectly weighted and accurate ball. Good movement by Sterling and good control to beat Elabdellaoui and win the spot kick.
63 mins – Rickie Lambert and James Milner warming up for England. They need to make a change soon to try and get some fresh legs running past Norway’s midfield and defence, but Milner isn’t likely to make a great impact. Lambert’s link-up ability and good finishing could make a difference though.
61 mins – England try to counter but Daniel Sturridge is held off well by Havard Nordtveit in the penalty area and the move comes to nothing. If the likes of Sturridge, Rooney, Sterling and Oxlade-Chamberlain can show more composure, counter-attacks will be the quickest and most effective way to get a goal in this game.
58 mins – Norway’s midfield line is a lot further forward from defence than in first half. It’s proving a more effective way of defending as England’s midfield struggling to find the gaps and so they have to force it wide, which isn’t working at the moment.
52 mins – Great chance for Norway as Joshua King dispossesses Gary Cahill and forces Joe Hart to make a save. He should’ve squared it to Mats Moeller Daehli who would have had a tap in, but that’s much better from Norway now who are pressing higher up the pitch and showing more belief in their play. Half-time team talk from the manager looks like it’s working.
49 mins – Two corners in a row for Norway. Second comes to nothing, but the first produced a good save from England goalkeeper Joe Hart after John Stones lost his man in the box. Rapid movement in the penalty area for set-pieces will be key in Norway carving out goalscoring chances.
48 mins – Norway manager Per-Mathias Hogmo clearly wasn’t happy with his side’s play in the first half. The Norwegians have shown much more attacking intent in the second half.
HALF-TIME – England need to play much quicker out from the back if they are to break Norway’s disciplined defence. The hosts have been rarely troubled in defence but need a re-think in how they go forward.
45 mins – First attacking free-kick for Norway. Ball in comes to nothing as lack of quality in attack shows. The away side need to capitalise on chances like that if they are to score at Wembley.
42 mins – Failed long ball by Wayne Rooney out on left wing to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on right side. The ball goes out for a goal-kick. Symptomatic of England’s play. Rooney has to drop very deep for the ball, and has to play speculative passes to try and help his team find some space in Norway’s final third.
39 mins – Rare move forward for Norway as Joshua King holds the ball up after a long ball forward before trying to feed in Mats Moeller Daehli. That’s the visitors’ best bet for a goal.
37 mins – Another attack breaks down for England as they’re again too slow in the build-up. It’s all well and good injecting pace halfway through an attacking move, but the Three Lions need to start pushing out quickly from the back.
34 mins – England could benefit from dropping off Norway and hitting them on the counter. They’re slow in the build-up and that means Norway have all the time they need to shut off the spaces in their final third and penalty area.
33 mins – England are having all of the play and possession, but they’re still not carving out the space to create proper goalscoring chances. The Three Lions need to work harder on breaking down stubborn defences, especially at Wembley.
30 mins – England show great range of passing combinations as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlains plays a long diagonal ball to Raheem Sterling. Great anticipation and run beyond by Leighton Baines, who has a decent shot. Looks like Baines and Sterling will build up a left-wing partnership during England’s Euro 2016 qualification campaign.
29 mins – John Stones not afraid to come forward and put crosses in. That’s giving England a lot of good options to get in behind Norway defence.
25 mins – Raheem Sterling looking long for Daniel Sturridge, who’s dink over Orjan Nyland almost pays off. That’s one right there from Liverpool’s training at Melwood.
24 mins – Norway midfield sitting very deep, almost on top of their defence. That’s allowing England a lot of space around the penalty area.
22 mins – A lot of space available for midfielders like Jordan Henderson around the penalty area. Norway struggling to stay disciplined and close down spaces.
20 mins – England looking to inject a lot more pace into their game than 10 minutes ago. It’s clear they do want to win after disappointing World Cup.
18 mins – Daniel Sturridge comes deep and tries long ball to Raheem Sterling in behind Norway centre-back Havard Nordtveit. Another attacking tactic used by Roy Hodgson, taken from Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool.
14 mins – Great chance for Raheem Sterling who runs in behind Norway centre-back Vegard Forren. England will look to do that a lot tonight.
13 mins – England looking to get Oxlade-Chamberlain on the ball whenever possible. Not surprising considering how highly England manager Roy Hodgson rates him.
8 mins – Patient passing from England. Norway have no desire to press high up the field and are sitting deep. Away at Wembley in a friendly, it’s easier for Norway to let England play in and around their own half. Hence why the Three Lions are struggling to carve out early chances.
4 mins – Poor Leighton Baines free-kick but good start for England, pressing high up the pitch and passing well.
3 mins – England looking to get Raheem Sterling in centrally, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain too.
2 mins – England passing it around all areas of the pitch, designed to give as many players a touch as possible and calm Wembley nerves.
Top tier of Wembley Stadium closed, the crowd as low as expected for England. And that’s fair enough, given that England had a disappointing World Cup and have not won in five games. The last game, the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica at the World Cup, was particularly uninspiring.
And Norway have five players in their starting Xi – Orjan Nyland (GK), Havard Nordtveit (CB), Omar Elabdelloui (RB), Martin Linnes (LB) and Stefan Johansen (CM) – who played for the U21s when they beat England’s U21s 3-1 at Euro 2013 in Israel. The Norwegians are said to have a lot of promising youngsters coming through.
Five England players in their starting XI aged 22 or under: John Stones, Phil Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling. Five players who will most likely be key in Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Line-ups are in. England’s starting XI was announced yesterday of course. Norway’s team has been announced and like the Three Lions, Norway seem to be looking to the future after a disappointing 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. 22-year-old full-backs Omar Elabdelloui and Martin Linnes are given their chance to impress Per-Mathias Hogmo. Up-front, Blackburn Rovers striker Joshua King gets his chance in the new-look squad, as does Cardiff City’s Mats Moeller Daehli and Celtic’s Stefan Johansen.
England v Norway – Wembley Stadium – 8pm kick off, live on ITV1
Welcome to live coverage of England’s friendly with Norway at Wembley. Farah’s Football will analyse the match tactically as it happens, highlighting all the clever attacking moves and best performing players, as well as the weak links, defensive deficiencies and so on.
There’s only been one previous meeting between the two, a 1-0 friendly win for England in Norway in a warm-up game for Euro 2012. Ashley Young scored the winner that day, highlighting his spectacular loss of form over the past few years for Manchester United.
The statistical gurus at WhoScored.com believe this match “has the makings of everything about a badly-timed, underwhelming, low-paced and dull international friendly.”
That could well be right with a disappointing crowd of less than 40,000 expected, but if the Three Lions can get Raheem Sterling in behind the full-backs (just like his goals for Liverpool against Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur), and if Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge can build on their World Cup partnership, there could well be a good few goals in this game for the hosts.
England (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart, John Stones, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge.
Norway (4-5-1): Orjan Nyland, Omar Elabdellaoui, Havard Nordtveit, Vegard Forren, Martin Linnes, Per Ciljan Skjelbred, Stefan Johansen, Ruben Yttergard Jenssen, Mats Moeller Daehli, Joshua King, Tarik Elyounoussi.