Prediction: 6-1 for Norway.
This game was ugly, but ultimately the result was what Norway needed. The first half was a little slow for both squads as it didn't seem like any players could manage to put any sequence of passes together. It went back and forth with no real chances from either side except long shots that the keepers handled fairly easily. Norway managed to grab the lone goal of the half with about 10 minutes remaining when Gordon Smith crossed in a corner kick that striker Josh Gyurek managed to head home.
To start the second half, Norway came out fairly flat and got taken to task in terms of possession for about seven or eight minutes. England wasn't generating any chances, but they weren't allowing Norway to get anything going either. It seemed like a lot of kick-and-chase from both teams. With about 10 minutes gone, Reis Cooper took a free kick for Norway from just over half that went into a super-crowded box. It went near Gyurek, but he never touched it as the ball ricocheted off a defender and past a helpless keeper. 2-0 Norway.
England managed to grab a goal back a couple of minutes later, but then the game opened up as time dwindled down and Norway started to get many more quality chances. With about seven minutes remaining, Chad Campbell beat his man on the left wing and coolly slid home a shot along the ground into the corner of the net. 3-1 Norway. Then with approximately one minute to go, Justin Sawka made a terrific defensive stop, busted up the field, passed off to Cooper who started a tic-tac-toe with Gyurek in the box to beat the lone defender and keeper. Cooper slid home the insurance for the prettiest goal of the tournament for Norway so far. 4-1 final.
I'll admit that it didn't look like Norway was the best team at times, but for the first game of the tournament those things can happen. Things should be better when Norway goes against Serbia on Wednesday in Group B action.