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England v Norway: Time to banish World Cup demons

1 September 2014 17:04

Memories of a dismal World Cup campaign will need to be cast aside when England welcome Norway to Wembley for a friendly on Wednesday.

Roy Hodgson's men failed to win a single match in Brazil, and the subsequent retirements of experienced figures Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have left the manager with sizeable holes to fill ahead of his side's Euro 2016 qualification campaign - which gets under way in Switzerland next Monday.

However, the 67-year-old, who has handed call-ups to uncapped quartet Jack Colback, Fabian Delph, Danny Rose and Calum Chambers as he bids to wipe the slate clean, believes Norway are in a similar state of transition, with key players approaching the end of their career.

"Norway will be in the same situation as we are," Hodgson told the Football Association's official website. "They've had some very good players - Morten Gamst Pedersen, Brede Hangeland - a group of players who have decided to retire or who are reaching the end.

"But they'll be hard to beat and it'll be an exceptionally tough game."

The wider impact of England's Brazilian nightmare may well be clear for all to see at Wembley. Reports suggest the national stadium is set for its lowest attendance for an England fixture, and Hodgson concedes his players are in need of a major confidence boost.

"There is a mood of negativity after what happened at the World Cup, and there's nothing I can do about that," he added. "But it won't help our boys.

"They'll go out against Norway and no matter how well prepared we get them and however keen they are to do well, they won't find it easy because Norway aren't a bad team.

"Anything other than a thrashing of Norway won't be particularly well received. But if you ask me now 'will you go out and thrash Norway?', I'd have to say, 'no, I don't think we will'."

Hodgson's decision to include Colback, Delph, Rose and Chambers drew some criticism when the squad was announced last week, with some questioning why players such as Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross and Swansea City's Nathan Dyer - both in form in the Premier League - continue to be overlooked.

Norway, meanwhile, are on a sorry run of form, having won just one of their last 11 international fixtures.

With Italy to face in their Euro 2016 qualifying opener on September 9, Norway will be eager for a swift change of fortunes.

However, Per-Mathias Hogmo's men should beware a wounded England, for whom Wayne Rooney will wear the armband for the first time since succeeding Gerrard as captain.

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Info

1 - 0

Competition
Friendlies
Date
3 September 2014
Kick-off
21:00
Half-time
0 - 0
Full-time
1 - 0
Venue
Wembley Stadium (London)
Attendance
40181

Goals

W. Rooney (PG) 68'  
1 - 0

Lineups

Substitutes

Sunday 28 December

Saturday 27 December

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Friday 26 December

22:40
22:04
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12:02
11:48
11:10
08:44
05:24
05:24
05:24
05:24
03:45
02:56
01:35
00:46

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