Can Haaland, Odegaard help revive Norway?

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Can Haaland, Odegaard help revive Norway?


As Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard prepare to meet each other when Arsenal against Manchester City in a big game in the Premier League title race on Wednesday, back in their home country of Norway there is a belief that the stars will once again make the country a team. Rugby.

Since Euro 2000, Norway qualified for a major tournament, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Tore Andre Flo led their attack.

Odegaard was 18 months old and Haaland was stillborn as Norway defeated Spain but failed to make it past their group.

That was the end of the country’s football success, when Norway won the World Cup, beating Brazil in the last 16 in France 98.

But things seem to have changed, and the national team has reached the play-offs for Euro 2020 with success in their bid to make the World Cup last year.

Qualifying for Euro 2024 starts next month and Norway look to be favorites ahead of Scotland to come out of their group with Spain.

Haaland, 22, has dominated the Premier League’s headlines as the top scorer by far, averaging over a goal a game for City since signing from Borussia Dortmund.

Almost 16 years after he joined Real Madrid, Odegaard struggled to live up to the hype there but is now leading Arsenal’s charge for the Premier League.

“Martin Odegaard, what a player, what a season. World class. He is a leader on the pitch for Arsenal. Good for them, good for Norwegian football,” he said. a Roar Stokke, a statement for the media Viaplay, AFP.

“Odegaard and Haaland are an inspiration for other players and an inspiration for Norwegian football.”

According to Stokke, two players in the world is a “good start” for Norway and they need a strong team around them, which may arise now.

The national team, ranked 43rd in the world, has many players who are playing in some of the best leagues in Europe.

Among them is Julian Ryerson, the 25-year-old right-back who recently joined Dortmund from Union Berlin.

Alexander Sorloth, 27, has been in excellent form as a goal scorer for Real Sociedad, although how the big player can play in the same team as Haaland remains to be seen.

Then there is coach Stale Solbakken, formerly of Wolverhampton Wanderers and who took over at the end of 2020.

“There are a lot of good vibes in the team and I think the manager is important,” said Tor-Kristian Karlsen, a former player at the local club IK Start. played the same role in Monaco and Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa, said AFP.

“Solbakken may not have had results yet but he is still a great example, show.

The national team is undoubtedly at the top, but what about the domestic league?

It has been 15 years since the Norwegian club made the Champions League group stage, when Trondheim’s Rosenborg held off Chelsea, ending Jose Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge.

Bodo/Glimt, the modest club from the north of the Arctic Circle, which came close to reaching the Champions League this year, lost the match.

Their performances in Europe, and those of the current champion Molde, are encouraging, as is the fact that the Eliteserien – which starts in April and runs through the summer – has recently been agreed to a new six-year television contract with local broadcaster TV2 reportedly worth more than $500. million.

But keeping talented players for a long time is a challenge.

Haaland played for Molde before joining Red Bull Salzburg at 18. Odegaard only played a few games for Stromsgodset.

The new transfer window has seen several Norwegian sides sell players abroad for huge fees, including Ivorian forward David Datro Fofana, who joined Chelsea for £10 million ($12 m) from Molde.

According to Stokke, the size of the country and the price are problems.

“The population of Norway is about five million. The winter is four to five months and our soccer season is shorter than any other,” he said.

Meanwhile, the current struggles of 26-time champion Rosenborg may not help.

“If one club has the development and image and culture to be able to return to the Champions League and stay there, it’s them but there’s a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done there,” the Karlsen said.


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