7:12pm Saturday 8th June 2013
© Press Association 2013
An under-cooked, under-performing England Under-21s saw their European Championship hopes go up in smoke, with Norway winning 3-1 and condemning Stuart Pearce's side to an embarrassing group stage exit for the second successive tournament.
The Young Lions headed to Israel on a run of nine wins on the bounce, but a miserable showing this week means they head into their final Group A game against the hosts with the knockout stages already beyond them.
Under-21s manager Pearce described the defeat to Italy as "awful" and will likely have even stronger words to say after Norway won comfortably in Petah Tikva.
The Scandinavians, who finished five points below England in qualifying, took the lead after just 15 minutes at Ha Moshava, with inept defending allowing Fredrik Semb Berge to strike home.
Having seen former Manchester City defender Omar Elabdellaoui come close minutes earlier, Magnus Eikrem hit a cross to Semb Berge, who was afforded space to turn and strike by woeful English defending.
Jo Inge Berget compounded a miserable first half by doubling Norway's lead after losing Steven Caulker, who saw a header disallowed late on.
Havard Nielsen sent a wonderful dinked ball over the head of Caulker, who was left for dead as Berget struck a half-volley home.
Eikrem, a graduate of Manchester United's academy, slammed home off the underside of the bar as England's miserable night continued after half-time.
Marcus Pedersen got the better of Dawson down the right flank and squared for Eikrem, whose powerful effort went in off the underside of the bar.
Craig Dawson pulled one back from the spot but it was merely a consolation against a Norway side that won so comfortably, despite starting their best four players on the bench after playing for the senior team on Friday.
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