Berti Vogts will not be looking back on this game with much satisfaction. Nor will the Scottish fans. Norway put a serious dent in Scotland's hopes of reaching the 2006 World Cup finals when Steffen Iversen gave them victory at Hampden. The striker calmly stroked home a penalty nine minutes into the second half to put the mach beyond Scotland's reach. The penalty was awarded after James McFadden had been sent off for handling on the goal-line It was Scotland's first home defeat in the World Cup qualifier since 1965 and it certainly adds to the pressure on Vogts. Scotland have only taken one point and failed to score in their two opening matches in the group. They will also be without McFadden and Paul Dickov, who picked up a booking, for the midweek trip to Moldova due to suspension.
The Scots had an early opportunity when McFadden curled in a 25-yard free-kick which Thomas Myhre dealt with unconvincingly. But Norway came back immediately and a surging run from John Carew caused problems when Craig Gordon could only slap away his cross but Richard Hughes was on hand to swipe the ball away for a corner. Norway troubled Scotland at set-pieces and won seven corners in an untidy first half in which neither goalkeeper was overworked. Myhre clutched a Darren Fletcher free-kick when all it took was a Scottish touch in front of goal to open the scoring. Carew had a great opportunity midway through the first half from a corner but his eight-yard header drifted narrowly over.
It was a warning for Scotland and McFadden then tried his luck from distance but Myhre gathered easily. Scotland came closest in the first half when Norway failed to deal with a McFadden corner and when Myhre blocked a Paul Dickov shot, Hughes saw his close-in attempt hooked off the line by Iversen. Scotland claimed the ball had crossed the line but television evidence showed that Iversen had made a timely intervention.
Scotland coach Berti Vogts was still protesting about the decision at half-time and was sent to the stand for the second half. Norway gave another warning six minutes from the break when Erik Hagen had a free header from a corner but Gordon was well positioned to clutch the ball. But Scotland fell behind nine minutes into the second half when Gordon misjudged a corner and Claus Lundekvam's header was punched off the line by McFadden.
It was a clear red card for the striker and Iversen calmly strode up to send Gordon the wrong way with the penalty kick. The goal stunned Hampden but Scotland almost snatched an equaliser in the 65th minute when Dickov curled in a shot from the edge of the area but Myhre had the effort covered and was down swiftly to save. But Scotland looked tired as Norway put a stranglehold on the game and looked for the killer second goal. Morten Gamst Pedersen should have scored it 15 minutes from time when he tried to chip Gordon from six yards when he only had the young goalkeeper to beat. A deflected cross from Fletcher came off the top of the crossbar but that was as close as Scotland came to salvaging it.
Scotland: Gordon, Gary Caldwell, Naysmith, Anderson, Webster, Ferguson, Fletcher, Holt, Dickov, McFadden, Hughes
Subs: Marshall, Thompson, Stevie Crawford, Pearson, Miller, Murray, Stephen Caldwell
Norway: Myhre, Bergdolmo, Hagen, Lundekvam, Riise, Sorensen, Solli, Hoseth, Larsen, Carew, Iversen
Subs: Andresen, Gashi, Frode Johnsen, Pedersen, Soma, Rushfeldt, Espen Johnsen
Referee: Paul Allaerts (Belgium)