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The BBC's Simon Brotherton
"Norway failed to inspire, but go home with their heads held high"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Norway crash out after Slovenia draw
Solskjaer and Knavs
Manchester United's Solskjaer grapples with Knavs
Slovenia 0-0 Norway
(Arnhem - Att: 22,000)

A tense draw with tournament outsiders Slovenia was not enough to earn Norway a place in the quarter-finals.

With Spain beating Yugoslavia in dramatic fashion, a single point was insufficient for the Scandinavians and they will surely rue their negative approach throughout the second half.

Most of the Norwegian team was still on the pitch after the game as news of Spain's improbable late comeback filtered through.

Where moments before there had been smiles and handshakes, there was now shock and disbelief.

Norwegian coach Nils Johan Semb looked particularly shaken and will have plenty of time now to reflect on his side's overly-cautious display.

Carew and Pavlin
Carew and Pavlin contest possession
The removal of the dangerous John Carew for Leeds United's more defensive-minded Eirik Bakke on the hour was indicative of Norway's gameplan.

For their part, Slovenia can be proud of an impressive debut on the international stage, and probably should have won this match.

The superb Zlatko Zahovic was at the centre of most of Slovenia's best moves and his partnership with Ermin Siljak caused Norway a number of problems.

With both sides playing for their Euro 2000 futures, the two sides shared a cagey and tense first half.

The entertainment factor did not improve much after the interval, however, and genuine goalscoring opportunities remained at a premium.

Contrasting styles

What interest there was came from the contrast between Norway's direct and physical approach and Slovenia's more patient style.

Norway settled down first and it soon became apparent that long balls aimed at their tall forwards Tore Andre Flo, Steffen Iversen and Carew, would be their preferred route to goal.

Sijak and Solbakken
Sijak tumbles under Solbakken's challenge
Erik Myklund's corners and Andre Bergdolmo's long throws looked like Norway's most potent weapons and Carew and co. were causing the Slovenian defence some discomfit.

The unfancied Slovenians, however, soon found their feet, and with Milan Pavlin and Zahovic prominent their slick passing game started to create a number of half-chances.

The best of these came direct from a Mladen Rudonja corner after 27 minutes when Siljak fired his first-time left-shot narrowly wide.

Minutes later Pavlin went even closer with a superb left-foot effort from 25 yards and the same player saw his diving header whistle past the post just before the break.

Norway's best chance of the first half came when Iversen fired a free-kick across the face of goal that Carew was only inches away from diverting into the net.

Slovenia: Dabanovic, Milinovic, Galic (Acimovic 83), Knavs, Novak, Ceh, Zahovic, Pavlin, Rudonja, Siljak (Osterc 86), Karic.

Norway: Myhre, Bergdolmo, Bragstad, Mykland, Eggen, Solbakken, Bjornebye, Flo, Carew (E. Bakke 61), Iversen, Solskjaer, E. Bakke (Strand 82).

Referee: G Poll (England)

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Slovenia v Norway clockwatch
21 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Slovenia v Norway in pictures
21 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Spain v Yugoslavia clockwatch
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