Norway vs San Marino by 20Legend
Norway has made it highly difficult to qualify for another tournament with their loss against Azerbaijan (1-0) last Saturday. The result was horrible once again even though Norway had to win in order to stay in a possible fight for participation in the World Cup. Even though it is only been played two games and there are still chances to go on paper, the Norwegian team showed that they are not up for it at all with their recent performance.
The lack of creativity in the offensive part combined with no confidence at the back should really concern coach Per Mathias Hogmo. However, Hogmo can only blame himself for not having taken Norway any further in his three years of leadership. He got another great opportunity against Azerbaijan to give both him and the team some relieve in terms of the pressure surrounding them at the moment. However, the media have been all over the place with different rumors of bad chemistry between several players and they demand Hogmo getting sacked from the job.
The pressure on the Norwegian team and Hogmo is as its peak these days and people in general have just given up faith in this team. The chance against Azerbaijan does not come twice as stronger teams like Czech Republic and Northern Ireland waits in near future. Midfielder Stefan Johansen (Fulham) is serving a suspension tonight due to yellow cards, while midfielder Fredrik Midtsjo (Rosenborg) is called up as a replacement.
It is not much to say about San Marino rather than what everyone knows. They have not won a game since 2004 and they are one of the weakest teams in Europe. Still, their coach did state that his players have a better believe in a long time in front of the game against Norway. That has really got to be horrible to hear for the Norwegians as it comes from a team that is rated as number 201 on the FIFA-ranking. However, San Marino never manages to score during their games either at home or away. They have lost both of their games as in this group as well against Azerbaijan (0-1) and Northern Ireland (4-0).
It is not much positive to be said of either of the teams tonight, but there must be a clear difference here. The Norwegian team has just professional players, while San Marino has amateurs with normal jobs in addition to football. Norway just has to refocus and strike back with a major win here. Though it will be tough to reach the World Cup this time as well, a major win here could be giving the players some hope after all when going ahead.
I understand if people react when I pick Norway to cover such a handicap, but it should be highly possible when looking at the two teams’ quality on paper. Norway plays at home and must show the people that they can actually perform on the international stage. To cover the handicap of four goals against the 201st rated team at the FIFA-ranking is a minimum after the humiliation against Azerbaijan.