Norway’s national men’s football team redeemed itself, after a crushing loss to Turkey late last week, with a victory over Montenegro Tuesday night in its latest World Cup qualifier. The team also mounted yet another T-shirt demonstration against how World Cup host Qatar has mistreated thousands of migrant workers building football facilities over the past several years.
This time the Norwegian football players and their coach wore T-shirts over their uniforms reading “Human rights on and off the pitch” during match preliminaries. They also raised their hands in a five-finger salute meant to represent a logo for human rights. They went on to beat Montenegro by a score of 1-0 at the World Cup qualifier that played out in Marbella. That raised their spirits after the 3-0 loss to Turkey on Friday that followed their victory over Gibraltar earlier last week. They were further aided by Turkey’s surprise stumbling on home turf, also Tuesday night, in a match against Latvia (another member of Norway’s qualifying group) that ended in a 3-3 tie.
That means the initial round of qualifying matches is ending up more open, but nonetheless led by Turkey and the Netherlands, followed by Montenegro, Norway, Latvia and Gilbratar. “But we’re back in the running,” player Alexander Sørloth, who scored the only goal in the Norway-Montenegro match, told TV2, which had the rights to broadcast the match. Sørloth’s goal came after some fancy footwork by Norway’s Mohamed Elyounoussi. Neither of the Norwegian team’s biggest stars, Martin Ødegaard and Erling Braut Haaland, scored, which has surprised fans since Haaland especially has been a scoring sensation for his pro team, Dortmund. “I just have to be better,” Haaland told TV2 after failing to score in any of the three qualifiers so far.
The next two qualifiers, against the Netherlands and Latvia, won’t be played until September, but then the Norwegians will meet the Dutch at home in Oslo. They’re also hoping for more demonstrations against Qatar by other teams, after already inspiring Germany and Denmark.