The excitement at the OC Welcome Event at in Oslo was palpable as around 180 guests, including Norwegian FA President Ingwe Hallen, national team coach Eli Landsem, German ambassador Detlev Runger, FIFA Head of Women's Competitions Tatjana Haenni, as well as several other current and former Norwegian internationals, gathered at the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret in anticipation of the first ever FIFA Women's World Cup™ to be held in Germany.
"Norway is a country mad about football and they've played a major role in the history of the women's game, winning the World Cup in 1995 and of course the European Championship in both 1987 and 1993," said OC President Steffi Jones. "The people of Norway are very much looking forward to continuing that tradition of success."
Germany against Norway is a classic women's football fixture. "We've already played one another 33 times, including the World Cup final in 1995. I wouldn't be surprised if the next time we meet is on 17 July in this year's final," continued the OC boss, echoing the sentiments of Norwegian coach Landsem and captain Ingvild Stensland.
One of the highlights of the evening was the nomination of former Eintracht Frankfurt striker Jan Age Fjortoft as a Super Fan. The one-time crowd favourite, whose dramatic late goal in a 5-1 victory over Kaiserslautern on the final day of the 1998/99 season kept Eintracht in the Bundesliga, was honoured by the assignment.
"I know about the unique atmosphere in German stadiums from my time in Frankfurt. Our players are going to enjoy an incredible backdrop and hopefully they'll be contesting the final against Germany on 17 July," said Fjortoft, who scored 14 goals in 52 games for the Eagles between 1998 and 2001.
Also on the agenda for OC President Jones was lunch at the German Embassy and a visit to the German School in Oslo.
Norway kick off their 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup campaign against Equatorial Guinea on 29 June in Augsburg. Their remaining group fixtures are against Brazil on 3 July in Wolfsburg and Australia on 6 July in Leverkusen.
The next stop on the official FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Welcome Tour is Paris, this coming Monday, 21 February 2011.