Socceroos Dealt a Rude Awakening as Norway Dominates Bert van Marwijk’s Debut as Coach

Bert van Marwijk’s tenure as Australia coach ahead of the World Cup has begun in dismal fashion, with Norway thrashing the Socceroos 4-1 in a friendly in Oslo.

The hosts, who sit 20 places below the 37th-ranked Socceroos, dominated from the start and were full value for their win in front of a sparse crowd at a bitterly cold Ullevaal Stadium.

A hat-trick from Ola Kamara and a header from Tore Reginiussen secured the emphatic victory after Jackson Irvine had given the Socceroos the lead with a 19th-minute header.

“I have to find the right combination … we need all the time to find it,” said van Marwijk, who took charge of the Socceroos in January.

“I will not complain about time because I knew the situation when I started.

“You never have enough time, but we have to do it … and I am satisfied.”

Van Marwijk, who will take the Socceroos to the World Cup in Russia in June, handed debuts to Dimi Petratos and Andrew Nabbout in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Bailey Wright named in an uncustomary right-back role.

Norway made all the early running and should have opened the scoring through Bjorn Johnsen who was put clear by skipper Stefan Johansen but he shot straight at Mat Ryan.

Australia offered little in attack but in a rare foray, Nabbout won a corner which was subsequently swung in by Aaron Mooy and Irvine rose unmarked to nod home his second international goal.

Despite the early setback the home side continued to press forward in impressive fashion.

Socceroos in Norway.

The pace of highly-rated Mohamed Elyounoussi on the left flank was constant threat to the Socceroos’ defence and he was the architect of Kamara’s equaliser.

The Basel winger, who scored against Manchester City in a recent Champions League game, skipped past Mark Milligan and his low cross was met first time by Kamara for an easy finish.

Van Marwijk opted against any changes at half-time and before he could shuffle his pack, the home side scored twice in nine minutes to effectively seal the contest.

Centre-back Reginuissen was given the freedom of Oslo to head past Ryan after Irvine misjudged Johansen’s in-swinging free kick seven minutes after the break.

Kamara then finished emphatically after latching onto a terrible pass from Ryan intended for Mile Jedinak and fired past the Brighton goalkeeper.

Van Marwijk then made a flurry of changes but it made little difference as Lars Lagerback’s side continued to dominate.

Johnsen should have extended Norway’s lead with a free header that he put over the bar after losing Milligan in the box.

But it was Kamara who had the final word two minutes from time with a curling, low finish to complete his hat-trick and cap off a miserable day for van Marwijk’s side, who face 13th-ranked Colombia in London on Tuesday.

Van Marwik has not ruled out changes for the Colombia encounter.

“How many changes? I don’t know,” he said.

“First I want to think about this game, talk with the players, analyse and then I start thinking about how we want to play against Colombia.”

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