Soccer UEFA Euro Qualification - Group Stage
Norway vs Scotland - Match Preview
⚽ 17 June 2023 - 16:00 GMT +0
While this North Sea rivalry is perhaps more famous in the legendary play Macbeth than in real life, Norway is already in danger of writing its own tragedy, after taking just a point from their opening brace of Euro 2024 qualifiers back in March. A win here seems vital if they are to end a 24-year wait for action in any major finals, with Euro 2000 also marking the nation’s only prior appearance in the UEFA European Championships’ 63-year history.
Given that, there should be no shortage of Norwegians with heroic intent here at the Ullevaal Stadion, as Ståle Solbakken’s squad aims to stub out a run of four winless competitive games that have each seen them fail to score more than once. In particular, Erling Haaland will surely be even more fired-up than usual after his victorious involvement in last Saturday’s UCL final, though he is still without an international goal since last September.
With this group’s top seed Spain involved in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals for the upcoming internationals, Scotland have an opportunity to provisionally go six points clear at the summit. Unlike Norway, they have had no significant issues up front lately, winning their opening duo of qualifiers back in March while netting five unanswered goals in the process.
Impressively, the latter was a 2-0 win over none other than three-time European champions Spain, no doubt giving Scotland coach Steve Clarke more hope than ever that he can become only the second Tartan Army boss in history to lead the nation into a second successive Euro finals after Craig Brown who did the same in Euro 96.
While much has clearly changed in the years since Scotland’s last trip to this venue (August 2009) which ended in a 4-0 hammering, it is still difficult to ignore a return of just one win in their last six competitive away games against teams currently ranked inside FIFA’s top-50 (D3, L2 - 90 mins).
📋 Players to watch: They were enemies in a Premier League (PL) title race for the ages, but hitman Haaland and playmaker Martin Ødegaard make a formidable pairing for Norway, with none of their combined goalscoring PL games in 2022/23 ending in defeat for them (W30, D5). In opposition, fellow PL regular Scott McTominay aims to build on a stunning March 2023 international break, which saw him start this ECQ campaign with two braces.
⚡ Hot stat: Four of the six prior H2Hs held this century has seen a 0-0 half-time scoreline.
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