Egil Roger Olsen (born 22
April 1942 in Fredrikstad), nicknamed Drillo, is a Norwegian association
football coach and former Norwegian football
He is best known as a highly successful coach of
the Norwegian national
. He has since been coach of the Iraqi national football team
his departure from which caused considerable attention. On January
14, 2009, it was announced that he would make a comeback as an
interim coach for Norway
He coached the Norwegian team from 1990 to 1998, guiding them to
final tournaments in
, Norway peaking as number two
on the FIFA ranking
. He worked
from 2005 to 2007 as an analyst for V√•lerenga I.F.
. Olsen was a formidable
player while playing football.
Olsen was a successful player with 16 caps for the national team,
earning the nickname "Drillo" from his dribbling skills.
In June 1999, the then 57-year-old Olsen made his appearance in
English football when he was named as manager of Wimbledon F.C.
He remained in charge for less
than a year, and was sacked just before the club slipped out of the
Premiership, having been top division members since 1986. He has
since returned to Norway.
Olsen was a member of the Norwegian Workers' Communist
(known as AKP (m-l)). He is also known for his immense
knowledge of geography trivia.
On May 19, 2007, Olsen rejected an offer to coach the Iraq national football team
citing a busy schedule.However, the Iraqi football president vowed
not to give up on his signature and on 17 September Olsen signed a
three-year contract. In February 2008, the Iraqis fired Olsen
without telling him. He had tried to contact them by several means,
but got the message when a new manager was installed, this action
on the Iraqis part was very unexpected and their reason was said to
be that they did not believe Olsen was strict enough.
On January 14, 2009, it was announced that Olsen would once again
manage the Norway national
in an interim period until a successor for
can be found.
first game under his management they beat Germany 0-1 in a friendly
away game in D√ľsseldorf.
It is the first time Norway has won against
Germany since the 1936 Summer
Olsen has sometimes been called a "football professor" for his
scientific approach to the game, and was arguably one of the first
managers to use video analysis of matches. He has collected
statistical data to find out which playing styles are the most
efficient. As Norway manager, he argued that as Norway didn't have
the players to beat the best teams, they needed a smarter playing
style than them, and one that fit Norway's skills. Ironically, his
preferred style of football has historically often been called
He has found that breakaways played an important role immediately
prior to many goals, and that counter-attacks after breakaways
should be carried out as fast and directly as possible before the
opponent can organise their defense. According to Olsen, only few
goals are scored against what he calls an "established
". As a large number of transverse passes or trying to
play out an established defense with short passes and combinations
increases the chance of a breakdown
against, often in dangerous
positions, his strategy was to make long passes against an
established defense when no direct path forwards could be found.
More precisely, defenders should in these cases play high, long
passes towards attackers or flank players. His use of a player with
good heading abilities as a target man
the flank, such as Jostein Flo
, was a
major break with the established idea that all flank players should
be small, quick and good dribblers.
He is opposed to stationary offensive players, and argues that
offensive runs (also for players that do not possess the ball)
should be carried out as often as possible when one's team has the
ball, as multiple simultaneous runs are very difficult to defend
against. He also holds the idea that breakthrough passes to the
area behind the opponent's defensive line should be sought out very
often, and that frequent offensive runs towards this area is
important. He also coined the phrase "√• v√¶re best uten ball"
(roughly "to be best at off-the-ball running", lit. "to be best
without the ball") which gained some fame in Norway. It was
originally said about √ėyvind
, a player doing an exceptional number of runs
Olsen is also an ardent supporter of zone
, as opposed to man-to-man
. He also argues that players with extreme skills
(extremely fast, extremely good headers, extremely good dribblers,
extremely good passers etc.), as opposed to players with only good
all-round skills, are important in football.
His long-ball philosophy, use of the 4-5-1
system and his teams' often extremely successful defending earned
him a bad reputation of boring football, even during the period
when his results as Norway manager were astonishing.
His thoughts, together with those of Nils Arne Eggen
, have had a strong impact on
Norwegian football. Norwegian club sides generally make many runs
without ball, play zone defense and are very focused on fast
counter-attacks. The idea of playing long balls against an
established defense, however, has become increasingly unfashionable
in Norway in later years.
He has been referred to as a "communist", for taking the position
that all players should be paid the same wages.
16 caps (1964-71)
Iraq NT Results under Egil Olsen