Spain vs Norway by 20Legend
Spain dominated the game against Montenegro in their first game in this group stage with the score 19:25 two days ago. I was surprised to see Montenegro being that weak in this game, but it was easy to see that the missing of Jovanovic minimized their chances against great team like Spain. The Montenegrins got one of their previous great players back to the Olympic tournament in Popovic after being out of the team, but she is clearly not on the same level that she was back then.
Norway lost their opening game against some very aggressive team from Brazil. 28:31 showed the scoreboard after 60 minutes and it was horrible defensive play that made the game a deserved defeat in the end. The goalkeepers Kari Grimsbo and Kathrine Lunde are two of the best keepers in the world, but they both failed at work that evening. Their insecurity influenced the defense as well which suited Brazil’s aggressive approach perfectly. Brazil slipped through the Norwegian defense time after time, and 31 conceded goals certainly gave the Norwegian team something to think about before the rest of the tournament. However, it is still four games left of the group stage and it is important to refocus immediately as nothing is spoiled yet.
Spain impressed in their game against Montenegro despite playing against a team that was not themselves in this match. The Spaniards did also notice that Norway lost against Brazil which has made them think that they can beat them as well here. Spain has won the latest two friendly meetings, while Norway beat them 29:26 on the way to their WC-title last year. Spain is usually quite tough defensively, while Norway must improve that part of the game tonight. However, I think it will be a high tempo in this game as it usually is between teams of this quality.
The Norwegian uncertainty is something that Spain must try to take advantage of, while Norway has a better team on paper that can beat Spain. The line of over 48.5 goals has been covered in their previous three official games and two friendlies played this year. Even if it is the Olympic Game, I still see great value to this line given both teams’ offensive qualities.