Posted: 5/26/2012


        In Norway it's as memorable as any speech by Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandella, Henry V at Agincourt.

        It was September 9th, 1981 and the part timers of Norway were hosting mighty England at Oslo's Ullevaal Stadion, and Ron Greenwood was manager of The Three Lions.  The result, and the commentary by BJORGE LILLELIEN of Norwegian NBC radio is part of football folklore here.

      " Maggie Thatcher can you hear me. Your boys took a hell of a beating!. Lord Nelson, Sir Winston Churchill, Clement Atlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana, your boys took a hell of a beating! Our boys are the best in the world, and we have beaten England, the birthcountry of giants.".

       Bjorge was educated at Northwestern University near Chicago and came back to do military service and worked for NBC from 1957 until his death from cancer in 1987, mostly winter sports and football commentary.

      The result was 2-1 for the Viking boys and a shock for an England team that included Ray Clemence, Kevin Keegan, Bryan Robson, Glenn Hoddle and Trevor Francis. They had won 3-1 in Hungary and were hoping to qualify for Spain 1982 as group winners. Bryan Robson opened the scoring in the 14th minute from a flick on from Keegan. Tom Lund equalized in the 34th minute and the winner 4 minutes later by Halvar Thoresen.  Due to the fact that Romania lost their last 3 group matches, England made it to the finals on goal difference behind Hungary.

        Tonights match at Ullevaal  is of interest as the first for Roy Hodgson in charge of England. With Rooney and others rested he will start the controversial Andy Carroll of Liverpool as striker, pitting him against Brede Hangelund of Fulham. Egil Olsen is again coaching his country. Up front for Norway will be Hannover '96 striker Mohammed Abdellaoe MOA. 

    The last time I watched Norway play here in Oslo was in 1993, sitting behind the goal taking photos as they beat Poland to qualify for FIFA World Cup 1994 in USA, despite finishing with 10 men after their goalie was red carded. Olsen was coach at that time and Norway came second to Holland in the group to reach the finals for the first time since 1938, while England finished in third place.