Football: Norway on their way to finals

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The Independent Online
TWO Premiership players, Jostein Flo of Sheffield United and Swindon Town's Jan Age Fjortoft, were on target for Norway as the Group Two leaders secured their place in next year's World Cup finals with a 3-0 win in Poland last night, writes Rupert Metcalf.

Norway's victory in Poznan means that they win the group, and will take part in the finals for the first time since 1938. Flo and Fjortoft scored in the 61st and 63rd minutes, after the Poles had ruled the first period. Ronny Johnsen added the third near the end.

In Group Three, Northern Ireland lost again but they made Denmark fight all the way in Copenhagen. The home side did not break through until the 81st minute, when Brian Laudrup weaved his way past several defenders and shot past Tommy Wright. The Danes will qualify if they draw against Spain in Seville on 17 November, when Northern Ireland entertain the Republic of Ireland.

Jimmy Quinn, the Reading striker, was unlucky not to score in the 57th minute, when his header beat Manchester United's Peter Schmeichel but he was penalised for a foul on Kim Vilfort. 'I thought our goal was a perfect header,' Billy Bingham, after his penultimate match as Northern Ireland's manager, said.

In Group Six, France could miss out on a place in the finals after a humiliating 3-2 home defeat by Israel, who earned their first win in the group. Leading 2-1 with seven minutes left, the French conceded late goals to Eyal Berkovich and Rehuven Atar. Liverpool's Ronny Rosenthal made all three Israeli goals.