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No Leo carnival

Posted on 6 June 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Oyvind Leonhardsen pondered the wreckage of Norway’s doomed World Cup qualifying campaign and admitted: "We probably won’t be there, that’s for sure."

Leo returned to the World Cup fold on Saturday, but could not inspire his country to a first win in group five, although a goalless draw in Kiev against Ukraine would normally be considered a good result.

"It’s very disappointing, but that’s life," said Leo, who says there has been little in the way of public backlash over the team not making the finals.

"Of course, everyone’s disappointed, but maybe they had given up before this game.

"This said we didn’t lose and 0-0 is not a bad result, but they have lost too many games at home."

It was Leo who squandered perhaps Norway’s best chance of the game when he shot wide from an inviting position — a rare chance in a tight game.

"I got one chance and I should have scored. I didn’t hit it perfectly but it was a chance. I don’t know how much I missed the post by, but it wasn’t far."

Despite their problems, Norway’s stumbling World Cup bandwagon rolls back to Oslo on Wednesday evening and Belarus provide the opposition. Leo is aware that his team can do Sergei Rebrov’s Ukraine a big favour by taking points from the group’s surprise package.

"Yes, we will do our best to beat Belarus. It is important for us to show everyone that we can do well and get a first win — we haven’t got one yet! We lost away in Belarus, but I didn’t play in that," recalled Leo who said Sergei and his team struggled to make an impression on the game at the weekend.

"Sergei came on and did alright, but they didn’t create much either. We had two big chances and they had maximum four. Our chances were bigger I think. Andriy Shevchenko was very quiet and we played very well defensively, but we didn’t create enough going forward.

"We have time now to try and develop and play better. It’s not too much pressure now, so we can concentrate on getting better and trying to qualify for Euro 2004."

Were England virtually out of contention with four games remaining, the coach would almost certainly be put under intolerable pressure — if he hadn’t already been hounded out of office. Norway coach Nils Johan Semb does not appear to encounter such problems.

"He’s just signed a four-year contract," said Leo. "I don’t think he’s under pressure. We just have to develop and go forward, we have a lot of potential but haven’t done too well. We just have top use the next games to try and develop our play — especially going forward."

By Richard Hubbard