Canaries impress on international duty

Norwich City's international trio of Andrew Crofts, Steve Morison and Simeon Jackson all enjoyed a weekend of success.

Midfielder Crofts and striker Morison played their part in Wales' impressive 4-1 win over Norway in Cardiff on Saturday, while Jackson's World Cup qualifying dream remains firmly alive with Canada.

Wales' renaissance under Gary Speed continued as goals from Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy plus a brace from former Canary loan player Sam Vokes secured a third successive victory.

City midfielder Crofts played the full 90 minutes while Morison, having softened up the Norwegian defence, was replaced by Vokes in the 70th minute.

Bale's opener, his third in as many games, arrived on 11 minutes when his cracking shot from an acute angle squeezed in at the near post having been played in by Morison who lifted the ball delightfully over the visitors' defence.


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Bellamy doubled the lead five minutes later with a beautiful curler that found the top-right corner. Wayne Hennessey's awful error gave Erik Huseklepp a tap-in but Vokes struck twice late on to seal another win.

The home side looked decidedly nervous after Huseklepp cut the deficit with half an hour remaining, but they weathered the storm, showing some grit to complement the earlier flair at Cardiff City Stadium.

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It is the first time since 2008 that Wales have won three consecutive matches, while they have now been victorious in four of their last five outings.

And although the final score flattered the hosts, Speed's men outclassed a Norwegian team ranked 21 places above them in the Fifa world rankings.

After Norway missed out on a place in the Euro 2012 play-offs on goal difference, captain Brede Hangeland had revealed some of his squad were finding inspiration hard to come by for the friendly.

Wales had one wobble when a horrendous mistake by Hennessey gave the visitors a lifeline with half an hour to go.

Having been a virtual spectator, the Wolves stopper came out to gather a loose ball near the penalty spot, but he fumbled and knocked the ball against Crofts. It fell perfectly into Huseklepp's path and he had an open goal to aim for.

But as the final whistle approached substitute Vokes, who made four appearances for the Canaries while on loan from Wolves, scoring once at the end of last season, put the result beyond doubt with two goals in a minute.

A flowing move between Bellamy and Bale gave the striker a simple tap-in at the far post for the first, and he capped another encouraging Wales win by finding the bottom corner with a low drive.

Meanwhile, Jackson helped Canada earn the point they needed against St Kitts and Nevis on Friday to reach phase three of Concacaf qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Norwich City striker played the full 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw and will have another chance to get on the scoresheet when both teams face each other again tomorrow in Toronto.

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