There are a few days until the selection for the “final” against Turkey. The national team coach, Ståle Solbakken (53) opens again to take out one of the Eliteserien’s form tips.
Aftenposten collaborates with VG-sporten. Therefore, as a reader of Aftenposten, you also get articles and services created by VG.
On Tuesday, after this weekend’s round, the Norwegian coach presents the call for the double against Turkey (October 8 in Istanbul) and Montenegro (October 11 in Ullevaal).
The former will likely decide Norway’s fate at the World Cup: a winner at Fenerbahce’s Sükrü Saracoğlu stadium this Friday will put the team in a position to fight group leader Holland for the group win, and at least control the second place, what gives play off.
After seven points and three solid performances in the previous match, Solbakken was clear that Norway must win away from Turkey or the Netherlands. It requires goals, and before the draw, the national team coach assesses whether he needs three or four clean forwards in Istanbul.
– We haven’t decided on that. We have a couple of places that we are discussing, Solbakken tells VG.
Genk pro Kristian Thorstvedt (22), who can play anywhere in offensive positions, is then considered a midfielder in this case. If Solbakken and the support apparatus end up with four clean forwards, the national team manager confirms that there is a chance for one of the four most dangerous players in the Elite Series.
This means that Ohi Omoijuanfo from Molde, Thomas Lehne Olsen from Lillestrøm, Erik Botheim from Bodø / Glimt or the Viking player Veton Berisha can be a complement to the trio Erling Braut Haaland (21), Alexander Sørloth (25) and Joshua King (29) .
– There are four top forwards in the Elite Series on four of the top five teams. All four are pioneers in different ways, Solbakken describes.
– So one of these can come?
– Yes, one of them can come. But not two. It will be zero or one, says the director of the Norwegian national team.
There was a debate after the last selection, when the triumphant Glimt Botheim was chosen against the league’s top scorer Ohi Omoijuanfo. After two goals against Mjøndalen in the series’ 18th round, Ohi jokingly described in a television interview with Eurosport that he had to be second best in the league.
– When they first removed a player from the Eliteserien, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t me. I’m not saying Botheim doesn’t deserve it, but when someone is brought in from here for the first time, you want it to be you. But that was not the case. Maybe next time, said the Molde forward.
Solbakken repeats why Botheim was eliminated then:
– We imagine Norway-Netherlands 0-0 with a quarter of an hour to play. Who is good in the box, who can read the fallen fruit. We also had an agreement with Leif Gunnar (Smerud). It was viewed that way, says Solbakken, and aims for Glimt’s forward to be sent to the Under-21 team after the game with the Netherlands.
Omoijuanfo, 27, couldn’t, while Botheim contributed to a canyon start for Norway in the U21 team’s EC qualifier.
– Are there others from the Eliteserien that are relevant now?
There are seven or eight bubbles there. Which plays consistently well. So you have someone who just left, like Fredrik Aursnes, responds Ståle Solbakken.