A packed stadium of cheering fans on home turf in Oslo, combined with revived skills and spirits, helped Norway’s national men’s football team fend off another victory by Spain’s squad during the weekend. The Norwegians need “more magical moments,” however, if they’re to win a spot in the next European Championships .
They held off Spain by tying the match in overtime. Commentator Reidar Sollie equated that to a victory for Norway when up against a powerhouse team like Spain.
Now they just need to win again when they meet Romania Tuesday night in Bucharest. That match is set to be very different, playing out before just 200 Norwegian fans who secured tickets before Romania’s fans were excluded because of racist behaviour at an earlier match.
The most important thing right now, according to both Sollie of Dagsavisen, who also leads Norway’s professional association of sports reporters, and Ola Bernhus of newspaper Aftenposten, is that the Norwegian team has redeemed itself after years of disappointing play. “We now have a team we can have faith in,” wrote Sollie on Monday.
Star player Joshua King, meanwhile, scored Norway’s tying goal in a penalty kick in overtime Saturday night, while Norway could also boast young Martin Ødegaard, who found himself playing against teammates from Real Sociedad and Real Madrid after Madrid recruited him a few years ago. Ødegaard was voted best player in one of the world’s best leagues just last month and won high acclaim from Real Madrid’s captain Sergio Ramos after Satuday’s match: “I view Ødegaard as our teammate. I have seen him grow and develop as a football player and that makes me glad. he’s one of the stars on his national team and has had a very good season (with Real Sociedad). Now he’s on loan, but I hope he’ll be a great player and come back to Real Madrid.”