FIN­JORD HAS BIG TASK IN NOR­WAY

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Paddy von Behr

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.

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