Thursday, March 7th was our first game day! We played Norway at 3 p.m. for our first match. That morning we had the choice to go to breakfast from 8-9 a.m., or skip it, sleep in and just go to our pregame meal at 11 a.m. We then loaded up the gear and headed back to the meal room for our pre game talk.
Once we got to the fields we started the warm-up. Everyone did their own thing for about 15 minutes and then we got into four lines and did some dynamic warm-ups. Following that, we got into a large circle and worked on dribbling and passing while interchanging. Then we split off into the starters and non-starters and played some possession. Lastly, the defenders did some long balls and heading, while the mids and forwards worked on shooting and crossing. Then it was game time!
In the first half, we had a tough time finding the midfielders the ball and keeping possession. We couldn't seem to penetrate the compact formation of the Norwegians. The score was 0-0 at halftime and we came out much better in the second period. We started to pass the ball much faster and pull apart their formation seams and playing thru balls seemed to open up. We scored fairly early in the second half off a nice long ball from the midfield that one of the forwards tapped around the goalkeeper and then passed in. We had several more opportunities after that but couldn't find the back of the net. In the last minute of the game, Norway got a cross off that led to a scramble in the box that they ended up scoring off. It was a bummer, but I think we all learned a lesson from it. The final score was 1-1.
After the game we went back to the hotel, showered quickly and then went to an Italian restaurant named Luigi's. It was really good! They served us salad, two different types of pasta, four different types of pizza and we even got a little bit of gelato for dessert. It was a nice break from the hotel food.
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