Soccer News

Soccer-Norway's World Cup chances nearly gone with Iceland draw

REYKJAVIK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Norway’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup were damaged on Saturday when they drew 1-1 away to Group Nine bottom team Iceland.

Norway, who last played at a World Cup in 1998 in France, grabbed the lead in the 11th minute when John Arne Riise blasted a 25-metre free kick past keeper Gunnleifur Gunnleifsson who misjudged the ball as it went straight over him into the goal.

An unmarked Eidur Gudjohnsen equalised for the hosts 18 minutes later when he headed in Gretar Steinsson’s cross. Iceland had the better chances in the second half but never managed to find the net.

The draw put the Norwegians in third place on seven points from as many matches. They still have a slim chance of reaching next year’s finals in South Africa, with Netherlands having already won the group and Scotland in second place on 10 points. (Reporting by Richard Solem; Editing by Sonia Oxley; To comment on this story: