Norway World Cup journey ends

Wellington, The Gulf Observer: Norway’s troubled World Cup odyssey came to a shuddering halt with a 3-1 loss to Japan in the last 16 on Saturday as the Scandinavians once again failed to find the balance needed to prosper at a major tournament.

Coach Hege Riise tinkered with her side throughout the World Cup but never managed to find the lineup or tactics that would get the most out of her squad, and she faces an uncertain future after a third poor showing in four tournaments.

“We knew Japan would have a lot of possession and we had to be strong in defence to not allow them to play too much into us,” she said of her plan for Saturday’s match.

“But (Japan) did well, we played solid defence at times but not quite good enough.”

Norway’s opening 1-0 defeat by New Zealand may not have been on a par with the 8-0 hammering they suffered at the hands of England at last year’s Euros, but it was almost as embarrassing, and it set the tone for another disappointing campaign.