Wales 4-1 Norway: Bale, Bellamy superb-strike, Vokes double
Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy scored superb-goal, to lead Wales win against Norway on friendly match, at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday 12/11/2011. Another goal scored by Vokes got brilliant double each on 88',89'.
Norway itself got entertaining goal utilizing shocker from Hennessey. A heavy touch off the chest of Huseklepp and the keeper claimed it, dropped it and it in.
After a terrible start to their failed Euro 2012 qualifying campaign and a tough beginning to life under Speed in the Nations Cup, Wales have evolved into one of the form teams in Europe.
Had their Euro campaign started when Speed took charge they could well have been preparing for a summer in Poland and Ukraine, but as it stands they look a decent prospect to escape a tough 2014 World Cup qualification group after dominating Norway in the first half.
Passing with ease and precision, the home side were all over their higher-ranked adversaries, pouring scorn on FIFA’s bizarre ranking system that sees Norway among the top seeds for their World Cup qualifiers and the Welsh in pool six with the likes of Andorra and San Marino, and behind the Faroe Islands.
The Welsh, sporting poppies on their black armbands, took the lead on 11 minutes - and in some style.
Impressive Celtic youngster Adam Matthews - like Darcy Blake only starting because of injuries to Danny Collins and James Collins - lofted a pass towards Bale, who chested it down to Steve Morison and spun off the defenders while the Norwich striker lobbed it back in - the precocious Spurs winger half-volleyed a rasping effort past Rune Jarstein, who was caught out at the near post.
Not long afterwards Aaron Ramsey had a penalty appeal rejected when he appeared to be tripped by Ruben Yttegard Jenssen, but it was 2-0 just after the quarter-hour mark when Bellamy cut inside from the left and - with right-back Espen Ruud distracted by Matthews’s run - curled a wonderful effort from range that flew past Jarstein and inside the far post.
Norway had barely touched the ball by this point but, with Wales comfortable, they were allowed to probe forward, with the target mostly lumbering Portsmouth striker Erik Huseklepp, energetic but lacking the touch to really threaten.
They also looked to John Arne Riise’s famed long throws but, on his 100th appearance for his country, he was unable to find Fulham team-mate and aerial colossus Brede Hangeland.
Egil Olsen’s side almost pulled one back though as Mohammed Abdellaoue - in great form with eight goals in nine Bundesliga matches for Hannover - created something from nothing, flashing a brilliant rising drive off the woodwork from some way out.
That appeared to rile Wales back into action as Morison was denied a clear shot on goal by Hangeland’s superb covering tackle after Bellamy slid him through.
Olsen responded to the poor first-half performance by taking off keeper Jarstein and ageing defender Kjetil Waehler, and they were certainly a better proposition at the start of an evenly-matched second period.
There was less to write home about though as both sides effectively cancelled each other out, with Norway toiling in attack.
So when they did pull one back it was pretty much all Wales’ doing as Wolves keeper Hennessey threw in one of his moderately frequent blunders, completely fumbling a heavy chest-on from Huseklepp, the ball rebounding off a helpless Andrew Crofts to allow the Pompey striker a tap-in.
The chance did come about from a lovely pass by Morten Gamst Pedersen, but the ball was Hennessey’s and he must take full blame for the goal.
It brightened Norway up a touch as the now-marauding Ruud hammered in a low cross shot that evaded both the far post and the lunge of Pedersen; down the other end Wales sparked up a touch, with Bellamy hitting the side netting after a Bale long throw.
With Morison fading, Vokes came on for the Welsh, who had a great chance to create something when Matthews again picked out Bellamy with a fine pass, although his cut-back was poor: Norway countered, with Huseklepp racing away before laying up Pedersen, who thrashed a rising drive high and wide.
They were trading chances at will now as the game opened up, Ruud’s cross causing trouble but kept out by the superb Blake, with Bellamy almost sneaking a corner routine in after he launched a counter from that Norway chance.
Bale had a great chance to restore Wales’ two-goal lead, poking wide after Ashley Williams flicked on a Bellamy corner, while a Riise throw caused panic in the Wales box from the subsequent counter.
He made up for that soon afterwards though, setting up Vokes for a far-post tap in after combining brilliantly with the livewire Bellamy, their searing pace leaving Norway helpless at the back.
That was on 88 minutes and within 60 seconds Vokes had doubled his international tally to four goals, drilling a low shot inside the near post after fellow sub Hal Robson-Kanu dispossessed Real Sociedad defender Vadim Demidov.
It was a remarkable cameo for Vokes, rounding off an excellent win that gives the Welsh confidence ahead of a tough World Cup qualifying group that includes Scotland, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and a similarly highly-rated young Belgium side.
Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, Matthews, Williams, Blake, Allen, Crofts, Ramsey, Bale, Bellamy, Morison; Subs: Price, Nyatanga, Edwards, King, Robson-Kanu, Vokes, Earnshaw
Norway: Jarstein, Ruud, Waehler, Hangeland, Riise, Pedersen, Tettey, Grindheim, Jenssen, Abdellaoui, Huseklepp; Subs: Pettersen, Vilsvik, Demidov, Brenne, Sorum, Parr, Braaten