Australia Draws With Norway

Australia has drawn 2-2 with Norway in this morning’s international match at Craven Cottage in London. Tim Cahill and Josip Skoko scored the goals for Australia.

Australia has drawn 2-2 with Norway in this morning-s international match at Craven Cottage in London. Tim Cahill and Josip Skoko scored the goals for Australia.   While it was an encouraging performance by the Socceroos, the result was somewhat disappointing, with Norway-s two goals somewhat soft and coming against the run of play.   After a spirited opening 15 minutes where Australia made all the early running, although shots on target were hard to come by, the game became a midfield battle for most of the first half.   Liverpool-s Harry Kewell has two early shots at goal, but neither troubled the Norwegian keeper Thomas Myhre. The closest anyone came was a Marco Bresciano volley that was just over the bar in the 13th minute.   Norway had the shot first shot on target with Odegaard-s effort from outside the box, squirming out of Mark Schwarzer-s arms, but luckily for him it stayed close and he was able to regather.   From then on the match turned into a midfield battle, with play becoming a little scrappy and neither side getting any shots at goal.   The impressive Brett Emerton, who has been in stellar form of late, had a header go wide in the 35th minute, as Australia lifted the momentum in attack and started to press the Norwegian defence.   However totally against the run of play, Norway managed to open up Australia, with Morten Pedersen playing Hoset into the box. Hoset hit a well struck shot low at goal, which Schwarzer managed to parry down, but it fell at the feet of Steffan Iversen and he had the simple job of tapping home.   Australia response was immediate though with Mark Viduka crossing for Kewell, whose downward header was brilliantly kept out by Myhre. An Emerton run into the box quickly followed and then the pressure finally told in first half injury time when man of the match Tim Cahill equalised.   Viduka laid the ball off to Bresciano who drifted across the top of the penalty area, before chipping the ball into the box for Cahill, who turned and stuck home past the onrushing Myhre.   While Norway made three changes at half time, Frank Farina made just the one with Vince Grella coming on for his Parma team mate Bresciano.   Right from the start of the second half, Australia made its intentions known, as it went straight on the attack.   In the 49th minute, Cahill should have had his second goal when he was presented with a free header just 10 yards out, but he inexplicably headed over the bar.   Again Australia-s pressure told and it was no surprise when they went ahead soon after. Lucas Neill chimed into the attack, playing a one-two with Viduka, who brilliantly held up the ball inside the area. As Neill received the ball he was bundled over, but not before getting a touch to Skoko, who drilled his low shot past Myhre.   Australia continued to press and another flowing move down the right, saw Neill cross to an unmarked Skoko 12 yards out, but this time he sliced his volley wide.   But just when Australia-s confidence was growing, again the Norwegian-s hit back and through a goal that won-t have pleased Farina or the Australian defence. Receiving a free kick wide on the right, Pedersen inswinging free kick to the near post, was missed by Iversen, but it was enough to put off Schwarzer and the ball curled inside the far post.   Cahill almost put Australia back in front soon after with a header that was deflected wide of the near post, while up the other end Norwegian substitute Gashi had a better chance to score, but headed well wide of the far post.   Pedersen, a constant danger throughout the match, then climbed over his Blackburn team mate Neill, to head wide of the near post, while Tiatto, who had earlier come on for Stan Lazaridis, tried his luck from 30 yards, his shot just dipping over the bar.   Australia finished the stronger, with Kewell again denied by Myhre down low, while substitute Ahmad Elrich did well to beat Pedersen and get a cross over to the near post, which was just out of reach for Viduka.   Farina had mixed emotions after the match, saying “I was pleased with the performance, but not the final result.   “We scored two excellent goals and should have had a couple more, but we gave away two very soft goals.”   “Semi-happy,” was his response when asked if he was happy with the performance.   Australia 2 (Cahill 45-+, Skoko 55-) Norway 2 (Iversen 40-, Pedersen 71-)   Australian line-up: Mark Schwarzer (gk); Lucas Neill, Tony Vidmar, Tony Popovic, Stan Lazaridis (Danny Tiatto 51-), Brett Emerton (Ahmad Elrich 75-), Josip Skoko, Marco Bresciano (Vince Grella 46-), Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill (Scott Chipperfield 75-) Subs Not Used: Zeljko Kalac (gk); Kevin Muscat, Jon McKain, Stephen Laybutt, Mile Sterjovski, Archie Thompson Cautions: nil