Norway are a mid-table team in Europe where there are many giants. The last time the team played in the World Cup was in 1998, and in recent years the team has failed in qualifying for both the Euros and the World Cup. The team is still desperate for a place in the World Cup.
In recent years, Norway has seen the emergence of a number of outstanding attacking players, with Borussia Dortmund winger Harland who is currently the world’s most expensive winger.There are also players such as Joshua King Soloth who have started in the top five leagues, and a midfielder named ErdMartin Ødegaard from the Real Madrid youth academy. The team has enough creativity up front.
However, there are obviously serious problems at the back. The manager was responsible for the 0:3 defeat by a sharp counter-attack by Turkey, despite the fact that the team had the advantage at home.
After a break, Norway will return to action on International Day to face the strongest opponent in the group, the Netherlands, and will be fighting for points. Even if they don’t finish top of the group, they will still have to fight for the remaining three places in the second stage.
The Netherlands is one of Europe’s established powerhouses and is known as the Tulip Army, with its predominantly orange team uniform.
But the team has also been one of the most pathetic in football history, always falling at the last step against their opponents in the finals, and being labelled the “uncrowned king” by fans.
Since finishing third in the World Cup in ’14, the team has become increasingly uncompetitive with the withdrawal of veterans such as Sneijderleben. As a traditional powerhouse, the failure to qualify for the ’18 World Cup was a tough pill to swallow.
However, the Netherlands have a strong squad that cannot be ignored. With the rise of a new generation of players such as Van Dijk and Depay, the team reached the final of the UEFA Nations League in ’19. Although the team was defeated by Portugal, the foundation was laid for the Netherlands to re-enter the first tier.
Van Dijk almost won the Ballon d’Or for his outstanding performances as a defender, while De Jong and De Rijter established themselves with European giants Barca and Juve respectively. Although they did not perform as well as expected in the European Cup, with Van Dijk back from injury and the experience of manager Van Gaal, the team is still very much in the running to top the group. The team will be well prepared to face Norway on the road.
With the popularity of the European vaccination, fans have been able to fill the stadiums, which will give the home side an increasingly clear advantage in the upcoming matches, swaying the bookies somewhat in favour of the Netherlands.
However, the reality is that there is still a gap between the two sides and the problem of Norway being top-heavy remains. Haaland has done well in the league, but has struggled to score goals in the national team’s qualifiers so far.
The Netherlands have been criticised for their poor performance in the Euros, also due to the coaching style of former coach De Boer and the absence of Van Dijk.
But with the return of Van Dijk at the heart of the defence, it will certainly set up a tight defence. The newly appointed Van Gaal is a very experienced manager and the two main Dutch strikers, Weghorst and Depay, have scored in consecutive games at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Barcelona respectively and are in excellent form, making it difficult for the Norwegian backfield to withstand their onslaught.
I think the Netherlands, who have topped the group as their first goal, will give it their best shot in this match and I’m looking forward to seeing them win on the road.
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