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Euro 2024 build up: Norway

Though headlined by star Premier League duo Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard, Euro 2024 might be one tournament too early for a national team program that boasts a deep pool of young talent waiting to explode

Norway has long been somewhat of a footballing enigma; tucked away on the northern fringes of Europe and surrounded by international rivals who have all had a much greater say on the beautiful game.

Unlike Sweden and Denmark, Norway has never been able to boast a cadre of top talent that truly took the world by storm. There certainly have been Norwegians to be among the notable ranks of talented players across the continent, and you all know those names, too. Players like Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Tore André Flo, John Arne Riise, and John Carew plied their trade at giant institutions in the vein of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Valencia during some of the biggest moments across their respective histories.

For a nation that has only ever qualified for one European Championship (2000) while making just two appearances at the World Cup (1994 and 1998), what is currently brewing in the Scandinavian nation in terms of a budding generation has been a long time coming.

Headlined by Manchester City goal-scoring machine Erling Haaland, alongside friend and Arsenal and Løvene captain Martin Ødegaard, there is a real chance that Norway can finally reach the same continental influence as their more illustrious neighbors in the coming years.

But when it comes to Euro 2024, it could be one tournament too soon for a national team program that boasts a deep pool of young talent waiting to explode.

Under current national team manager Ståle Solbakken, Løvene has shown promise in phases under the former midfielder, putting in decent campaigns across World Cup 2022 qualifying as well as the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League.

Of their nine most recent outings, Norway managed to score more than a single goal just twice; their two recent wins over much lesser opposition in the vein of their huge 6-0 over Jordan yesterday, and their 3-1 result against Cyrpus in June to finally give them their first Euro 2024 qualifying win in their fourth outing of the on-going campaign.

At current, Norway sits third in Group A, but that position is likely to fall to fourth as Spain, who have only featured twice thus far, clash with underdog Georgia as well as Cyprus during the current international break. Norway also faces its second test against Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Jvarosnebi four days from now at Olso’s Ullevaal Stadion after the pair drew 1-1 in Batumi back in March.

There is a real chance that Norway could miss out on yet another European Championship, but recent evidence wholly suggests that trend will come to an end moving forward after a cadre of youngsters was on display yesterday for both the senior side as well as Norway’s U21 outfit.

Club Brugge starlet winger Antonio Nusa, who has recently been linked with serious and not-so-shocking interest from Chelsea, scored on his debut while also putting in a Man of the Match performance, while wonderkids Andreas Schjelderup (SL Benfica, on loan back at FC Nordsjælland), Oscar Bobb (Manchester City), and Isak Hansen-Aarøen (Manchester United) shone in the U21′s 7-0 win over San Marino.

While the term “Golden Generation” may be a step too far just yet, the reality that Norway is quietly padding its ranks with young talent that have all been primed to play at the highest level on the continent is certainly cause of a certain degree of optimism.

This does not dismiss the talent that is already in the senior side, either. Though many names will seem foreign to a large portion of our readership, if you have time, do some digging on Patrick Berg, Ola Solbakken, Markus Solbakken, Hugo Vetlesen, Sivert Mannsverk, Kristian Thorstvedt, Emil Breivik, Fredrik André Bjørkan, and Jesper Daland.

The pieces are there unquestionably there for Norway. Though Solbakken may not be the right man to truly take the national team program forward this cycle, reloading the chamber for the 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign should be of the utmost priority.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy what Norway has on offer this cycle. There is much more still yet to come.

Picture of Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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