Normally I wouldn't toot my own horn - but c'mon. I predicted 5-2 and it ended up 6-2. Props are in order.
Both teams came out flying on Saturday night and it looked to be fairly even for the first five minutes or so. An unexpected recruit for Jamaica, the impressive Mark Korthius, was a main focus for Norway because he has definite game-breaker potential. Early-on it looked like Jamaica might win the midfield battle that was the unquestioned key to victory.
But then Stefan Husdal of Norway scored on a nice little redirect of a corner kick and the wheels pretty much came off the Jamaica bus. Norway is capable of playing an incredibly solid defensive game when they get a lead and they suffocated Jamaica's comeback efforts. Andrew Baulin put Norway up 2-0 on a sweet shot from 20 yards out and Norway went into halftime up 3-1.
It looked like Jamaica might come back when they scored early in the second stangent, but then Norway picked up the intensity and dominated for the final 20 minutes including a nice tic-tac-toe goal that gave Adam Payette, the 2007 MVP, his first tally of the tournament. Norway had more chances, scored 3 goals and shut down pretty much every Jamaica attempt to get a quality shot. Norway's outside midfielders counter-attacked ruthlessly in the final portion of the game and made certain that Jamaica couldn't sustain pressure for any significant period of time.
Perhaps the defining moment of the match was the game-winner, scored by Justin Slinn late in the first half. A long ball into the box and Slinn put the header home. The play highlighted how easily Norway was able to abuse the Jamaican defense and score critical goals when they were needed.
Norway goal scorers: Husdal, Baulin, Slinn, Chad Campbell, Payette and Justin Sawka.
Well done Norway.