Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s International Friendlies clash between Norway and Luxembourg, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Despite neither side going to the European Championships in June, they will still both look to record victories in their two-game international breaks before they return to action in September.
Norway were disappointed not to book their spot in Euro 2020, having suffered a narrow defeat at home to Serbia in the playoff stage in October.
The game remained goalless until Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored what appeared to be the winner for the visitors in the 82nd minute, but Mathias Normann would go on to equalise six minutes later to take the encounter to extra time, in which Milinkovic-Savic found the net again to send Norway out.
Despite possessing an exciting crop of talent, the Lions have now failed to qualify for a major tournament since the 2000 World Cup, when they were knocked out in the group stage.
However, Stale Solbakken‘s side did begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in a positive manner in the last international break, as they picked up six points from their opening three matches.
They began with a 3-0 away victory over Gibraltar, as Alexander Sorloth, Kristian Thorstvedt and Jonas Svensson all got on the scoresheet, before an Ozan Tufan brace and a Caglar Soyuncu goal fired Turkey to a convincing 3-0 win in the following match.
The Lions bounced back from that though, as Alexander Sorloth netted the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win away against Montenegro in the third game.
Norway will now attempt to continue building form with another strong international break, starting with a clash against Luxembourg in Spain.
In their most recent international game in March, Luxembourg suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Portugal in their second game of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Gerson Rodrigues opened the scoring for the hosts on the half-hour mark, but Diogo Jota levelled the scoring before goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Palhinha condemned Luc Holtz‘s side to a defeat.
However, they did kick their campaign off with a victory before that, as The Red Lions defeated Republic of Ireland 1-0 away from home.
That game looked set to end goalless, until Rodrigues popped up with the winner in the 85th minute to seal all three points, giving his side a positive start to the qualifying stage.
While they have again failed to qualify for the European Championships, Luxembourg have shown positive signs in recent years, and they will look to continue their general upwards trajectory with what would be an impressive victory on Wednesday before they take on Scotland later in the week.
Norway International Friendlies form:
Norway form (all competitions):
Luxembourg International Friendlies form:
Luxembourg form (all competitions):
Norway are without midfielder Sander Berge for this round of international fixtures, as he was unable to make the squad having missed the final portion of the season with Sheffield United through injury.
They still boast plenty of quality in midfield though, with new captain Martin Odegaard offering plenty of attacking threat while Patrick Berg and Morten Thorsby are also strong options in the middle.
The line will be led by Erling Braut Haaland, who has announced himself on the world stage over the last year with 27 goals and eight assists in 28 Bundesliga games for Borussia Dortmund this season, while also picking up the top scorer award in the Champions League with 10 goals in eight games alongside two assists.
He will be supported by Alexander Sorloth, who netted the only goal of the game in their last international outing, when they defeated Montenegro 1-0.
Exciting Luxembourg winger Vincent Thill has been unable to make the squad for the upcoming matches, having missed the final part of the season for Nacional in the Primeira Liga through injury.
The line will be led by exciting Dynamo Kiev forward Gerson Rodrigues, who has netted seven goals in 34 international appearances.
He should be joined by experienced striker Daniel da Mota, who will look to be awarded his 100th international Cap on Wednesday.
Norway possible starting lineup:
Nyland; Ryerson, Ajer, Strandberg, Meling; Odergaard, Berg, Thorsby, Elyounoussi; Sorloth, Haaland
Luxembourg possible starting lineup:
Moris; Jans, Chanot, Mahmutovic, Carlson; S Thill, Martins Pereira, Philipps, O Thill; Da Mota, Rodrigues
We say: Norway 3-0 Luxembourg
Norway’s exciting blend of young attacking talent should have more than enough to get past Luxembourg on Wednesday.
The likes of Odegaard, Sorloth and Haaland will be hopeful of adding to their international goals tallies, and we see the Lions cruising to comfortable victory thanks to their strong attacking ranks.