Arne Larsen Økland
Økland in 2014.
|Date of birth||31 May 1954|
|Place of birth||Bømlo, Norway|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Arne Larsen Økland (born 31 May 1954) is a former Norwegian footballer who played as a striker for Vard Haugesund, Bryne, Bayer Leverkusen and Racing Club de Paris. He was capped 54 times for Norway, scoring 13 goals and he is regarded as one of the best Norwegian players of his generation. He later coached Bryne and Viking.
Økland was born in Bømlo and began his career at the local club Bremnes before he moved to Vard Haugesund in the early 1970s. In 1976 the club played their sole season in the Norwegian top division and Økland scored 11 goals, and made his international debut the same year. Despite Økland's efforts, Vard were relegated at the end of the season, and he then transferred to Bryne. With Økland as one of the key players, the newly promoted Bryne survived relegation in 1977, finished fourth in 1979 and second in 1980. In the summer of 1980, he was signed by West German side Bayer Leverkusen.
Økland enjoyed a successful three-year spell at Leverkusen. Just a few months into his stay at the club, he scored a hat-trick in a 3–0 win against Bayern Munich. Økland was in fact credited with a fourth goal late in the game as the ball went through a hole in the side netting, but Økland famously told the referee that it wasn't a goal. In his three years at Leverkusen, Økland played 101 Bundesliga matches and scored 43 goals. In 1983, Økland moved to the French team Racing Club de Paris, where he spent two seasons before returning to Bryne.
Økland was one of the key players in Tor Røste Fossen's period as national team coach. He made his debut against Spain on 29 March 1978, which also was Røste Fossen first match in charge of Norway. His first international goals came in a 1–1 draw against Belgium, in a UEFA Euro 1980 qualifying match on 20 September 1978. He soon became an important player in both the national team, and the Olympic team. Norway qualified for the Moscow Olympics, but because of the boycott Økland and other teammates like Einar Aas and Vidar Davidsen never got to play in the olympics.
Økland was also a part of Norway's famous win against England in 1981, when Bjørge Lillelien commented his now famous "Your boys took a hell of a beating" tirade. Norway performed well in the start of the UEFA Euro 1984 qualifiers, and with Økland scoring in both matches, Norway won 3–1 against Yugoslavia and drew 2–2 away against Bulgaria, but with Tom Lund retiring from football, Norway once again failed to qualify for the finals.
In 1985, Økland scored the winning goal when Norway won 2–1 against reigning world champions Italy. Økland was also a part of the team that won 1–0 against future world champions Argentina in 1986. His last international appearance was in a friendly match against Italy on 28 May 1987, the same year as he retired. In total, Økland was capped 54 times, scoring 13 goals.
Life outside football
Økland is married to Liv Brit Økland, and they have three children; Ståle Økland, Silvia Ø. Greff and Martin Økland.
- Søfting, Thomas. "Arne Larsen Økland". home.no. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Kvamme, Sigve (27 September 2007). "Ble en legende da han annullerte eget mål". dagbladet.no (in Norwegian). Dagbladet. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Leverkusen, who's who, Arne Larsen Ökland". leverkusen.com (in German). Retrieved 1 May 2012.