England’s Euro 2012 preparations were boosted as a solid performance in Oslo saw the Three Lions edge a tight contest against Norway.
An early goal from Ashley Young decided the friendly contest, which was devoid of too many clear cut chances.
In a pre-match interview, captain Steven Gerrard claimed that Hodgson specialises in setting his teams up as ‘difficult to beat’, and that is how it proved in the Ullevaal Stadion, bringing joy to the England fans, especially those who backed their team at 11/10 before the game.
Any Three Lions supporter who placed the free £25 bet they received for registering with bwin on an England victory would have been given £52.50 to spend on pre-Euro 2012 barbecue supplies.
Young, who was 15/2 to score the opening goal, used the pass of Carroll and the run of Steven Gerrard to work himself the space and finished well, bagging his fifth goal in his last six internationals.
The onus was on possession football and keeping a solid shape without the ball, with the two central midfielders often playing just a few yards ahead of the centre backs.
It proved successful as England rarely looked troubled and comfortably held on to the lead given to them in the ninth minute by Young.
The Manchester United winger, playing in the hole behind Andy Carroll, picked up the ball halfway inside the Norwegian half, before wrong footing Brede Hangeland and side-footing the ball across keeper Rune Almenning Jarstein and into the far corner of the net.
Young, who was 15/2 to score the opening goal, used the pass of Carroll and the run of Steven Gerrard to work himself the space and finished well, bagging his fifth goal in his last six internationals and confirming bwinbetting’s predictions that he was the man to back ahead of the match.
Hodgson’s men enjoyed an impressive first half, in which Stewart Downing produced several inviting crosses, one of which almost provided a goal for Liverpool teammate Carroll, who could only head wide from close range.
Chances for the hosts were few and far between, although Morten Gamst Pedersen hit the post direct from a corner, while Markus Henriksen stung the hands of Robert Green with a fierce shot from the corner of the penalty area.
The second half saw Egil Olsen’s men improve, with Pedersen and John Arne Riise going close with efforts from range.
However, England were still a danger, as Leighton Baines forced a save from Jarstein with a free-kick, and Phil Jones saw a deflected effort strike the foot of the post.
Substitutions from both sides kept the game from really kicking into a high gear, with Theo Walcott replacing Scott Parker, who was later seen with an ice pack on his troubled Achilles. It remains to be seen whether the Tottenham midfielder will be fit for Euro 2012.
There were debuts handed to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Martin Kelly as Hodgson’s side saw out a relatively comfortable 1-0 win.
Norway: Jarstein, Hogli (Ruud 40), Hangeland, JA Riise, Demidov, Henriksen (Berisha 84), Pedersen (Grindheim 62), Tettey (Yttergard Jenssen 90), Braaten (Huseklepp 74), Abdellaoui, Elyounossi
England: Green, Jones (Kelly 88), Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Parker (Walcott 56), Gerrard (Barry 45 (Henderson 73)), Milner, Downing (Johnson 85), Young (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72), Carroll
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