Born: 15.03.1957 in Tyssedal
Roger Albertsen was a hard-working and hard-tackling midfielder who never truly established himself as a first-choice in the Norway lineup, but he was a dependable player who did a fine job whenever he got the chance. He wasn't a finesse player, but his work-rate and determination made him a fan favorite at every club he played. He is perhaps best remembered for scoring the equaliser (or did he?) in Norway's famous win against England in 1981. On club level, Albertsen spent most of his career abroad.
Albertsen began his career with local lower-division sides Tyssedal and Odda. He was regarded as a promising talent, and had represented Norway several times at youth level. Nonetheless, in an age when foreign exports were few and far between, it came as something of a shock when he left Norway at age 17 to try his luck in the Netherlands, after being recommended to Den Haag by their former player Harry Hestad. Albertsen made his debut for the club in 1975, and soon became a regular in the Den Haag lineup, earning praise for his tireless running and no-nonsense physical play. His performance in the Eredivisie didn't go unnoticed back home, and he made his senior international debut as a 19-year-old in a World Cup qualifier against Switzerland in 1976.
In the summer of 1979, Albertsen was transferred to Feyenoord, where he became a valuable player in the side that finished fourth in the league and won the cup. However, at the end of the season, after just one year in Rotterdam, he returned to Den Haag. He played one more season for Den Haag, and then he was on the move again - this time to Belgian side Winterslag (now known as Racing Genk following a 1988 merger). Albertsen quickly became a fan favorite at the Belgian club, and his performances earned him a recall to the national team for the 1981 World Cup qualifier against England - the game that would provide Albertsen's finest moment in a Norway jersey.
Nobody gave Norway a chance before the England game, and when Bryan Robson gave the visitors the lead after 15 minutes, most people believed the match was decided, and that the floodgates were about to open. However, Norway kept their composure, and were back in the game in the 35th minute, when Albertsen went after a cross from Tom Lund and the ball sailed into the back of the net. So, who scored the goal? Albertsen was credited with the goal, but television replays seem to indicate that Albertsen did in fact not make contact with the ball before it crossed the line. Even Albertsen himself was unsure about whether he touched the ball or not, and the incident spawned a long discussion, that has never truly been resolved, about who should be credited the goal. Ultimately, does it really matter who scored? The fact remains that Norway had equalised against England, and had not Albertsen come running in at full speed to reach the cross, England keeper Ray Clemence would most likely have saved it. Hallvar Thoresen scored Norway's second four minutes before half-time, the unthinkable had happened. Norway had taken the lead against England, and went on to win the game, prompting radio commentator Bjørge Lillelien to give his famous rant about Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and Maggie Thatcher. After the England match, Albertsen got an extended run in the national side, and scored two more goals in a pair of 1982 summer friendlies (this time with no doubt about Albertsen being the scorer). He was also a member of the team that defeated Yugoslavia 3-1 in a Euro 84 qualifier.
Midway through the 1982/83 season, Albertsen was on the move again, when he was signed by Greek giants Olympiakos. He won a league championship in his first season at the club, and spent three years in Greece, doing the dirty work in midfield, until his old friend Arne Dokken persuaded him to return home and play for Rosenborg. So, in the summer of 1985, after a decade abroad, Albertsen played his first-ever top division game in the Norwegian league. He was a member of the Rosenborg side that won the league in dramatic fashion in 1985, after defeating title rivals Lillestrøm on the final day of the season. He then spent two more years at the Trondheim club before hanging up his boots due to injury at the end of the 1987 season.
After retiring from the game, Albertsen worked in the computer business, and also held coaching jobs for lower-division sides Orkanger, Sokna and Kongsberg. In late 2002, he was diagnosed with cancer, and sadly passed away from the disease in March 2003, shortly before what would have been his 46th birthday.
National Team Appearances
|Den Haag (Netherlands)|
|1||08.09.1976||Oslo||Switzerland||1-0||World Cup Qualifier|
|2||22.09.1976||Oslo||Sweden||3-2||World Cup Qualifier|
|4||20.09.1978||Lokeren||Belgium||1-1||European Champ. Qual.|
|5||09.05.1979||Oslo||Portugal||0-1||European Champ. Qual.|
|6||07.06.1979||Oslo||Scotland||0-4||European Champ. Qual.|
|9||12.09.1979||Oslo||Belgium||1-2||European Champ. Qual.|
|10||01.11.1979||Lisbon||Portugal||1-3||European Champ. Qual.|
|Den Haag (Netherlands)|
|11||10.09.1980||London||England||0-4||World Cup Qualifier|
|12||29.10.1980||Bern||Switzerland||2-1||World Cup Qualifier|
|13||09.09.1981||Oslo||England||2-1||World Cup Qualifier|
|19||22.09.1982||Swansea||Wales||0-1||European Champ. Qual.|
|20||13.10.1982||Oslo||Yugoslavia||3-1||European Champ. Qual.|
|21||07.09.1983||Oslo||Bulgaria||1-2||European Champ. Qual.|
|22||21.09.1983||Oslo||Wales||0-0||European Champ. Qual.|
|25||12.09.1984||Oslo||Switzerland||0-1||World Cup Qualifier|
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