Commentators were complaining about missed opportunities after a match between the Norwegian and Swedish men’s national football teams ended with a score of 0-0 Monday night. Norway’s wonderboy Martin Ødegaard, though, was said to have put on a “brilliant” display.
The match packed the national football stadium in Oslo, with an unusually large crowd of more than 20,000. Most were there to see Ødegaard and Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action and they weren’t disappointed, even though newspaper Aftenposten’s reporter claimed that Zlatan “didn’t do much more than he had to.” The friendly warm-up match for both sides’ European Championship qualifiers later in the week wasn’t exactly a reason for the stars to exert themselves.
Norwegian coach Per-Mathias Høgmo was satisfied, though, glad that his team defended itself against Swedish scoring and impressed with Ødegaard’s contribution. “He’s 16 years old and tolerates a lot,” Høgmo told broadcaster MAX after the match. “He came out of this well today. He could also have had some assists.” Ødegaard himself agreed: “It’s positive that we create enough to score, but we need to use our chances,” he told MAX.
Norway’s team will be back on the field at Oslo’s Ullevaal Stadium against Azerbaijan on Friday and then the situation will be more serious. With a chance to play in the European Championships at stake, commentators claimed only a victory will be good enough.