Norway find motivation for Wales friendly difficult
Friday 11 November 2011
Captain Brede Hangeland admits that some of his squad have found it difficult to motivate themselves ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Wales after their Euro 2012 qualifying bid ended in bitter disappointment.
A 3-1 win over Cyprus in their final Group H fixture last month was not enough to secure a play-off berth for Egil Olsen's side, who missed out on second spot in their group on goal difference.
They now face a rejuvenated Welsh side that have won three of their last four games and can call on the in-form pair of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, who have been the focus of media scrutiny this week after appearing in promotional images for a Team GB supporters' shirt.
Fulham defender Hangeland is hopeful that his side can deliver, but acknowledges it has been difficult to get the squad up for a game that coincides with the first leg of the play-offs they so narrowly missed out on.
He said: "Obviously we want to win the game, and produce a good performance, but it is hard to convince everyone that this is a massively important game after a qualifying campaign.
"It is a friendly and we will try and use it to prepare as best we can for next year's Wold Cup qualifiers."
If Norway are to emerge victorious at Cardiff City Stadium then Hangeland and his backline will need to be at their best.
Wales' recent good run has been based around the pace, power and creativity of Bale, Ramsey, Joe Allen, Craig Bellamy and Steve Morison and Hangeland knows that quintet will ensure he is in for a tough afternoon.
He said: "It's not really a surprise to see how well they are doing when you look at the players they have.
"They have guys doing well in the Premier League and it is a strong team that I expect to go on to better things in the future.
"Everyone who follows the Premier League knows Ramsey and Bale have been doing well lately and if they play we know it will be tough.
"Bale is a good all-round player, he has that pace which is something every defender will have trouble with. We know he can cause trouble but hopefully we can deal with it.
"Bellamy is another guy who is a great attacking option and we know we will have our work cut out."
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