Powell's hopes hit
Norway 8 England 0
England's aspirations to join the women's football elite took a knock last night (Sunday) when they were on the wrong end of an 8-0 drubbing by Norway in a European Championship qualifying match.
Thankfully for Hope Powell's side, the result does not jeopardise England's position as group runner-up and play-off contender for next year's tournament. As for Norway, who have won all their qualifying games, the result confirms them as group winners and automatic qualifiers for Euro 2001
The game was only six minutes old when Norway took the lead, Mellgren squeezing the ball home after England had failed to clear their lines.
England, who gave a full debut to Katie Chapman and welcomed back Vicky Exley, Rachel Yankey and Kelly Smith, were left reeling 11 minutes later when the Spanish referee somewhat harshly awarded an indirect free-kick against Rachel Brown, the goalkeeper, for exceeding six seconds on the ball. The initial shot was blocked but the rebound fell to Rapp to score. Pettersen and Gulbrandsen made it 4-0 before half-time.
In the second half Norway gave the visitors an object lesson in finishing. Mellgren lobbed in a fifth, another by the impressive Anita Rapp and two from Pettersen completed the rout.
"It was a baptism of fire for players like Katie Chapman but she performed extremely well and will have learnt a lot, " Powell said after the game. "The scoreline is harsh and it is a shame that it is the only thing people will see back in England.
"We took a chance in this game and it will pay dividends in the long run but we cannot afford to make the errors that we did today when we reach the play-offs in the autumn."
NORWAY (4-4-2): B Nordby - B Sandaune, A Tonnesen, G Kringen (sub: K Bekkevold, 46min), B Kvitland - S Gulbrandsen, H Riise, U Lehn (sub: M Haugenes, 65), A Rapp (sub: M Knudsen, 65) - D Mellgren, M Pettersen.
ENGLAND (4-4-2): R Brown - S Britton, M Marley, K Chapman, J Fletcher - K Burke, B Easton, V Exley (sub: D Murphy 66), S Smith - R Yankey, K Smith (sub: T Proctor, 74).