Tag Archives: ullevaal stadion

It was only a dream

In the wake of Norway’s 1-0 loss last night to the Netherlands, its chances of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup are almost down to zero.  Norway currently sits in last place in Group 9 with only 2 points.  Not surprisingly, journalists and fans are calling for the head coach, Åge Hareide, to quit

“I’m willing to take responsibility,” says team’s head coach, “but I’m not willing to quit just because a bunch of journalists want me to.”

Well, Åge, perhaps you should quit because your team hasn’t won a match in 2008, not because anyone is telling you to. 

Norway’s next qualifying match is June 2009.  Maybe some young players will step up and save Norway before then. 

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Must win or so what?

I must admit that I hate the phrase “must win” because it is rarely used in situations where a team truly must win and often used in situations where the game is simply important.  That being said, Norway’s match against the Netherlands on Wednesday at Ullevaal Stadion is likely a must win.

Norway played to a scoreless draw at Scotland over the weekend, further dimming its hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.  After 2 matches, Norway now has only 2 points.

The Dutch come into Wednesday’s match as group leaders, with 6 points in 2 matches.  If they leave Oslo with a win, they will almost certainly win the group.

But, does anyone really care?  A poll taken before the Scotland match showed:

a luke-warm response to the Norwegian A-team. Some 36 percent say that they are ‘very’ or ‘reasonably’ interested, but 64 percent reply that are ‘less’ or ‘entirely’ uninterested in the soccer team.

Long-time Liverpool and current Roma player John Arne Riise added:

“People want results. The only thing that counts is getting three points and winning. If we beat Scotland and The Netherlands, the figures will look quite different.”

Missed on the first.  We’ll see about the second on Wednesday.

(My national team fared much better, beating Cuba 6-1 in D.C., advancing to final round play in CONCACAF qualification.)