FINJORD HAS BIG TASK IN NORWAY
IT didn’t take Norway long to replace outgoing women’s head coach Even Pellerud, with Roger Finjord filling the vacancy later that day.
Pellerud stepped down on Wednesday morning and the powers that be acted fast, installing his assistant Finjord as manager ahead of their qualifying campaigns for the European Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games.
Norway were knocked out of the World Cup earlier this year by Mark Sampson’s England in the last-16, as goals from Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze turned the game on its head.
And Pellerud returned from his post-World Cup holiday with the decision to end his second spell in charge of the Grasshoppers.
“I’ve had some fine years with the women’s national team and been very inspired and motivated for the job,” he said.
“After we didn’t do as well as I’d hoped in the World Cup, I’ve been thinking about it afterwards and after two weeks of summer holiday.”
Finjord, who steered Stabæk to the Norwegian women’s title in 2010 and joined the nationalteam set-up two years later, will face some stiff early tests.
Norway will take on Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands in March as they compete for the last European spot at the Rio Olympics next year.
NFF official Nils Johan Semb said:“We all agree that the World Championships didn’t turn out as we wanted.”
The World Cup winners are also readying themselves for Olympics after the schedule for their qualifying campaign was finalised.
USA will take their place alongside Mexico and six other CONCACAF teams, which are yet to be determined, with two teams from the region earning qualification.
Their group clashes will take place at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco – home of FC Dallas – in February next year.
Before that, however, Jill Ellis’ side face a friendly clash with Costa Rica on Sunday and they could be without Alex Morgan and Hope Solo, both currently nursing knee problems.
Meanwhile, North Korea triumphed in the Women’s East Asian Cup following victories over rivals Japan, China PR and South Korea.
Ra Un Sim finished top goalscorer after netting three in as many games.The players were personally greeted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at Pyongyang airport on their return from Wuhan, China.