Norway beats Cyprus 3-1, misses out on Euro 2012
Norway's 3-1 victory over Cyprus on Tuesday wasn't enough as it failed to qualify for next year's European Championship after finishing third in Group H.
Denmark's 2-1 victory over Portugal ensured it finished atop the group, with the Portuguese claiming second place and a playoff spot for next year's tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
Portugal and Norway finished tied with 16 points, but the Portuguese will advance due to a better goal difference.
Knowing they needed a rash of goals to advance in lieu of Portugal, the Norwegian club was on the offensive during much of the game at the Ullevaal Stadion. But Cypriot goaltender Tasos Kissos performed well to stop several of Norway's best scoring chances.
Still, Morten Gamst Pedersen managed to put the Norwegians ahead after 25 minutes by heading in Espen Ruud's corner kick.
John Carew doubled Norway's lead nine minutes later.
Ioannis Okkas scored Cyprus' lone goal before the half, while Tom Hogli scored his first goal for Norway in the 65th.
''We were good during the first half-hour until 2-0,'' Norway coach Egil Olsen told Norwegian TV2. ''But we're not satisfied with the second half.''
Okkas' goal dampened local hopes of catching Portugal, which finished with six more goals scored than the Norwegians. Goal difference turned out to be the tiebreaker after the teams split their two games by identical 1-0 results.
''If we had led by three goals at the break, the idea could have occurred to me that we could make it,'' Olsen said, ''but not at 2-1.''
Norway: Rune A. Jarstein, Tom Hoegli, Kjetil Waehler, Vadim Demidov, John Arne Riise, Espen Ruud (Simen Brenne, 63), Alexander Tettey (Ruben Yttergaard Jenssen, 82), Christian Grindheim, Morten Gamst Pedersen (Jonathan Parr, 46), Erik Huseklepp, John Carew.
Cyprus: Tasos Kissas, Jason Demetriou, Georgios Merkis, Georgos Pelagia (Stelios Parpas, 6), Elias Kharalambous, Marinos Satsias, Sinisa Dobrasinovic, Anthos Solomou, Konstantinos Kharalambides (Dimitris Khristofi, 62), Andreas Avraam, Ioannis Okkas (Andreas Stavrou, 81)