Cyprus win not enough for Norway

Norway 3-1 Cyprus A comfortable win against Cyprus fell substantially short of the overwhelming one Egil Olsen's side needed to steal a Group H play-off place from Portugal.

John Arne Riise, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Erik Huseklepp celebrate a goal against Cyprus
John Arne Riise, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Erik Huseklepp celebrate a goal against Cyprus ©Getty Images

Goals from Morten Gamst Pedersen, John Carew and Tom Høgli helped Norway close their Group H campaign with a 3-1 win against Cyprus, but they missed out on a UEFA EURO 2012 play-off place on goal difference.

With Portugal losing 2-1 in Denmark, Norway finished level on 16 points with Paulo Bento's side, but the Iberian nation's +9 goal difference means they will be the team in Thursday's play-off draw.

Clear favourites before the game, Norway quickly seized the initiative, and opened the scoring after 25 minutes when Pedersen headed in at the near post from an Espen Ruud corner. The second goal arrived nine minutes later, Carew heading into an open goal after Cyprus goalkeeper Tasos Kissas fumbled a long John Arne Riise throw.

Four minutes before the break, Cyprus reduced Norway's lead, Ioannis Okkas slotting past Rune Jarstein at the second time of asking. Right-back Høgli rarely figures on the score sheet at club or international level, but he made it 3-1 20 minutes into the second half, shooting low into the corner from an Erik Huseklepp pass.

Carew might have added to his tally, though the six extra goals Norway needed to match Portugal never looked like coming.

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