Soccer squad ready for Ukraine

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Just two days after beating Montenegro in a so-called landskamp (national match) at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, Norway’s national football (soccer) team was gearing up to face Ukraine. It’s mostly for show, since Norway has long been out of the current World Cup qualifying round, but it’s important for morale.

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“This is a team that never gives up,” John Arne Riise, who plays professionally for Roma, told newspaper Aftenposten. “I hope we can take this feeling into the (new) qualifying rounds.” He thinks its very important that Norway wins its first match in the new round against Iceland September 3.

Norway beat Montenegro 2-1, adding to the mystique of coach Egil “Drillo” Olsen, who has never lost a match on home turf at Ullevaal. “I don’t know what it is, what has happened or how,” Riise told Aftenposten. “It’s just happening. We’re not losing.”

It was the squad’s fifth victory in a row, even though the winning streak came late and includes “friendly” non-qualifying matches. On Saturday, Riise was best man for his young brother Bjørn Helge, also a professional football player, so didn’t take part. On Sunday, though, he was back on the training field.

The team will play Ukraine before the summer holiday season kicks in. Riise said he was looking forward to five weeks off, “with a lot of golf.”

Views and News staff