Norway shows form of champ

'95 Cup winner rolls over Canada, 7-1, in Landover

June 24, 1999|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- You can't keep them out on the flanks. You can only redirect them some of the time when they pass long toward their breaking forwards, which is often, either by air or by grass. You can't work the ball through their middle. And never, ever, err inside the penalty box.

Defending champion Norway taught Canada all those lessons, and more, on the way to a 7-1 victory in both teams' second Women's World Cup Group C game last night at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

Displaying a higher level of team play and experience, the Norwegians dominated end-to-end, outshooting the younger, greener Canadians, 28-7, putting 17 on goal, before an enthusiastic 16,448 fans.

"In the second half, only one team was on the field," Norwegian coach Per-Mathias Hogmo said, just stating the obvious.

Down 2-1 at the half, Canada surrendered two goals in the second half's first nine minutes, which Canadian coach Neil Turnbull said killed his squad's hopes.

"With our youth and inexperience, that just put us on our heels," he said. "We couldn't deal with that."

Pressed for his opinion on Norway's chances of beating the favored U.S. team, Turnbull, whose team lost a 4-2 friendly to the Americans earlier this month, replied: "I'd have to say the Norwegian team is a little more solid overall, although I think the U.S. team is more dynamic."

The Norwegians (2-0-0) clinched a spot in the quarterfinals, no matter what happens in their final group game Saturday against Japan. Canada (0-1-1) must beat Russia Saturday at Giants Stadium if it hopes to advance.

Where to begin detailing Norway's superlatives?

Start with veteran Linda Medalen, a private investigator back home and longtime forward now playing central defense in her third Cup. Her diving header over a defender off a twice-deflected corner kick in the 63rd minute lifted her into a three-way tie as the Women's World Cup's all-time scoring leader, with 21 points. Medalen's nine goals and three assists tied her with American Michelle Akers, whose career roughly parallels Medalen's, and Germany's retired Heidi Mohr.

Medalen dashed blindly upfield after scoring, her shirt pulled over her head and face. "No women do that, only men," she said with a laugh. "Of course, I'm crazy enough, and I had to do it."

Then take veteran forward Ann Kristin Aarones. Lost to the team for six weeks with a knee problem and then a virus, held from the team's first Cup game, she started again, scored twice in the first half and set up Norway's third goal.

And you cannot ignore new Norwegian scoring sensation Marianne Pettersen. Quick, uncommonly wily in finding space among defenders and always hunting, she scored just once, her team's sixth goal, off a corner kick.

But she gave Canadian goalkeeper Nicci Wright nightmares with nine shots, the farthest from only about a dozen yards. She hit the left post in the seventh minute. Wright, quick off her line, kicked away four of Pettersen's shots, bravely slid to take another shot virtually off her feet and stopped a late, point-blank attempt with her face, dropping her motionless for a scary minute.

Norway led only 2-1 at halftime, despite rarely allowing Canada deeper than about 20 yards into its territory.

Aarones opened the scoring with a 7-yarder on the right side in the eighth minute off midfielder Monica Knudsen's cross from the left, across the penalty box. Aarones' second, in the 36th minute, was a 6-yard header inside the left post off Unni Lehn's sharp cross from deep on the right flank. The score was part of an elegant, four-player passing sequence around the right corner of the box from the middle of the field about 28 yards from goal.

Aarones' second goal came four minutes after Canada, with one shot in the first half-hour of play, tied the game 1-1 on a restart play that began 35 yards to the left of goal. Isabelle Harvey, a former Southern Cal player, dropped her free kick into the middle of the box, where early substitute midfielder Andrea Neil headed it down and standout attacking middie Charmaine Harvey touched it in from 6 yards as she and a defender slid shoe-to-shoe at the ball.

The six-goal defeat was deja vu for Canada. Four years, 13 days ago, in the 1995 World Cup in Sweden, the Norwegians beat Canada, 7-0, leaving the first round on their way to the championship.

Sweden 3, Australia 1: Teen-age forward Hanna Ljungberg scored twice as the young Swedes took their first Group D victory.

The 19-year-old put her first goal in at the right post off a cross from Kristin Bengtsson in the 21st minute, building on forward Jane Tornqvist's ninth-minute header into the top right off a corner kick from Malin Andersson.

In the 69th minute, Ljungberg got her second goal, a 16-yarder from in front, as she dribbled past the goalkeeper and a defender.

"We had to win this game to advance, so I'm happy," said Swedish coach Marika Domanski Lyfors, one of two women coaches among the tournament's 16 teams. "I wish we had scored more goals, but now we have to beat Ghana [Saturday]."

The Aussies' chances of advancing grew almost impossible with the loss. They face China, a favorite to make the final, Saturday at Giants Stadium.

Pub Date: 6/24/99

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