EUROPE: World Cup – Qualification
Time: 19:45 PM
Venue: Ullevål Stadion (Oslo)
World Cup Qualification (WCQ) in Group G resumes here with the 21st clash between Norway and the Netherlands (NOR: W5, D6, L9) and first since 2009, in a group where just a single point separates the top four sides, making this unequivocally the most competitive European qualifying group.
After an attempt to boycott the WC by grassroots football in Norway ultimately failed to get through the Norwegian FF earlier in the year, Norway now have the chance to qualify for a first major finals since EURO 2000. Yet with their two WCQ wins so far (L1) both coming against sides outside FIFA’s top 50, and their last win against any nation in the top 20 coming back in September 2015 (Croatia), any result here could be seen as a bonus.
Out with the old, in with the… old? A new era beckons for FIFA’s 12th-ranked nation, the Netherlands, who welcome former manager Louis van Gaal for his third stint. It is hard to argue with such an appointment though, as the ‘Iron Tulip’ is one of the most decorated managers in world football with 20 major honours to his name.
The Netherlands made a promising start to the summer’s Euro 2020 finals before imploding in the round of 16 with a red card early after HT. However, van Gaal went unbeaten in every WCQ game during his last spell, with his ‘Oranje’ scoring at least twice in all ten matches (W9, D1), whilst also eclipsing a -1 handicap in each victory – a scenario seen in their last two WCQs.
Players to watch: Norway’s Erling Braut Håland already has a scary return of six goals and three assists from just five competitive club games this season, while the Netherlands’ Memphis Depay has contributed to nine goals across his last six international appearances.
- Norway’s form in last 5 matches: LWWLW.
- Netherlands’ form in last 5 matches: LWWWW
PREDICTION: Away/Draw and Over 1.5