The Norwegian coach, Per-Mathias Høgmo, has communicated the following list of players for the upcoming friendly game against Estonia on the 12th of November. The list includes also Martin Ødegaard, the talented midfielder that is visiting the biggest clubs' training facilities around Europe (full story here).
We introduce you the Norwegian national team thanks to Tor Thodesen, Norwegian UEFA Pro licensed coach who had an experience in Estonia in 1999. During that time in the Baltic country, he was Teitur Thordarsson assistant coach at the Estonian national team and the U-18 national team coach.
In 2006 he was chosen 'Coach of The Year' by the NFF when he was Sandefjord head coach.
Tor will comment the Norway-Estonia game as pundit in the studio of game broadcaster, 'Max'.
You can follow him on Twitter too: @Thodesen
Goalkeepers (3): Rune Almenning Jarstein (Hertha Berlin, GER) Sten Grytebust (Aalesund, NOR) Ørjan Håskjold Nyland (Molde, NOR).
Defenders (8): Omar Elabdellaoui (Olympiakos, GRE) Vegard Forren (Molde, NOR) Steffen Hagen (Odd Grenland, NOR) Per Egil Flo (Molde, NOR) Tom Høgli (FC København, DEN) Martin Linnes (Molde, NOR) Håvard Nordtveit (Borussia Mönchengladbach, GER) Tore Reginiussen (Rosenborg, NOR)
Midfielders (8): Mats Møller Dæhli (Cardiff, ENG) Stefan Johansen (Celtic, SCO) Anders Konradsen (Rennes, FRA) Jone Samuelsen (Odd Grenland, NOR) Harmeet Singh (Molde, NOR) Per Ciljan Skjelbred (Hertha Berlin, NOR) Alexander Tettey (Norwich, ENG) Martin Ødegaard (Strømsgodset, NOR)
Strikers (4): Tarik Elyounoussi (Hoffenheim, GER) Fredrik Gulbrandsen (Molde, NOR) Alexander Søderlund (Rosenborg, NOR) Håvard Nielsen (Eintracht Braunschweig, GER)
Last autumn the Norway National team hit their lowest point in years when failing to qualify for Brazil 2014 at the hands of Switzerland and Iceland. Even beating minnows Albania proved impossible resulting in only one point from the double header. Legendary coach Egil «Drillo» Olsen, in his second spell with the team, was shown the door in a failed attempt to rescue a play-off spot two games before the end. In came Per Mathias Høgmo. Successful in Sweden with Djurgården and highly motivated for what he deemed as his Dream job.
Høgmo has said since day one that the process of bringing back the glory days of Norway National team will be a long and hard one. In spite of the impatience displayed by the media and the people in general he has been firmly backed by the federation through his first troublesome year in charge.
His approach has been to turn around almost everything from selection of players and backroom staff to selection of opponents. In this aspect the selection of no less than 54 players under Høgmo this far says it all! Not surprisingly the short term answer was poor results and a rapid fall on the FIFA rankings, at 76 as the lowest. (Currently at 68th position).
Most of all Høgmos mission has been to change the playing style of the team. He has baldly proclaimed that his ideal style would be to attack like Manchester City and defend like Athletico Madrid! No small task in other words…
The Euro Qualification started with a lacklustre performance at home against Italy resulting in 2-0 defeat without a single goal scoring opportunity registered. Then came what all Norwegian fans hope was the turning point, two well-deserved victories against Malta (away) and Bulgaria (home). Especially in the last game the team played well and produced some good attacking football with resemblance to the ideals proclaimed by the coach.
What can Estonia expect in Oslo then? On one hand this Norway team is inexperienced and somewhat vulnerable. This is manifested by the fact that they probably will be facing the fifteen year old golden boy Martin Ødegaard who made his full international debut against Bulgaria.
On the other hand they will meet a hungry team that has no games to give away in their quest to win back the fans.
EXPECTED XI (4-4-2)
Young Ørjan Håskjold Nyland (Molde) has kept former no.1 and Hertha Berlin reserve Rune Jarstein out and will probably do so again.
Defenders (right to left)
Martin Linnes (Molde), Vegard Forren (Molde), Håvard Nordtveit (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Omar Elabdellaoui (Olympiakos) has been the preferred back line. I will be surprised if there is a lot of experimentation to this. Nordtveit plays defencive midfield in the Bundesliga but has been preferred as a central defender in the national team.
Mats Møller Dæhli (Cardiff) has been left out at his club since they parted with Ole Gunnar Solkjær as their manager but will still be favoured by Høgmo, often on the right wing. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) is another safe bet in midfield together with our best performing international at the moment, newly elected National team captain Per Ciljan Skjelbred of Hertha Berlin. This group has a lot of talented central midfielders but lack typical wingers. It means that some of them is bound to play out of position. Options here is Alexander Tettey (Norwich) and of course the much talked about youngster Martin Ødegaard (Strømsgodset). Ødegaard didn't have a very good game in the last league round and I am not sure he will be considered for a starting position.
Tarik Elyounoussi (Hoffenheim), Håvard Nielsen (Eintracht Braunschweig) and Fredrik Gulbrandsen (Molde) are the most likely options when our best striker and double goal scorer against Bulgaria Joshua King (Blackburn) is out due to a back injury.
By Tor Thodesen