Vikings on retreat. What is happening with football Norway?

The Czech team may have problems in qualifying matches with Nora but will undoubtedly be a favorite of paper. Even in the 1990s, the proud North Koreans paid a respected, respected selection that even climbed to the second place of the FIFA rankings. Now they have problems to overtake San Marino. How is it possible?

The Norwegians have never been a football ballet nation, yet a few years back would hardly find anyone taking them lightly. Thanks to the uncompromising, fighting style of the game, team unity and great physical parameters, most respected and respected favorites. Indeed, on Mundial 1998 they ran Brazil, two years later on Eur then Spain.But it was also the last bout of anything fanners could think of as a success. Since then, there has been a football drought in Norway.

Fourth of September 2016 it was more than ever seen. The Ullevaal National Stadium in Oslo once paid for the hot ground – perhaps not literally, but the points from Norway were taken as a bonus no matter who came home to the fighters. A month and a half back the Norwegians came up against the Germans, but if their bus had been stuck in jam on the road, few would know the difference. The Germans took the training pace, but the home team had a clear score of 3: 0 and they were still very merciful. Of course, Löw’s Germany is a virtually invincible machine, yet with him it is possible to play a dignified game. This has nothing to do with dignity.It looked like a first-class struggle against the amateurs of the division. The famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in his play Peer Gynt quotes Luke’s Gospel: “Amen, I tell you, no prophet is welcome in his homeland.” Current football Norway would not agree – the national team desperately needs leaders, bosses, prophets. The problem is that they are simply not in the country. And if so, the representation is not visible. Just look at the situation after a bloody qualification at Euro 2016. The Norwegian Football Association (NFF) then issued a statement that he has the utmost confidence in coach Per-Mathias Hogma, who has been running the team since 2013. Which in itself may not be wrong, If its president, Terje Svendsen, did not say that Hogmo had no objective goals in the upcoming qualification.In other words: There is no result that would be too bad for current Norway

The first three World Cup qualifying rounds did not provide much hope. If a beating with the Germans was a sad but yet awaited scenario, a defeat of 0: 1 against Azerbaijan (the 133rd position on the world rankings) must be taken as an absolute fiasco. At least, if you watch football from the point of view of a regular fan, accustomed to the long-term relative power distribution. In Norway itself – and this is perhaps the most striking sign of something really wrong – no one was so surprised.The fans felt betrayed, of course, but not surprised.

There was a mandatory 4: 1 win over San Marino, but it could hardly have been a return to form (even if it was a win Convincing, which was not possible). First, San Marino scored the first goal of the last 15 years. Secondly, the three Norwegian goals fell at the end of the match.In the group with the Germans, the Northern Ireland, the Czech Republic and the Azerbaijan, the goal should be the second (Norwegian) goal, but as Mr Svendsen pointed out, there are no paper targets – and no qualifi- cations are available at the outset.

The last major tournament with Norwegian participation was Euro 2000 in the Netherlands and Belgium; The Vikings defeated Spain, thanks to the beautiful head of Steffen Iversen, with Slovenia and lost to Yugoslavia. It was not the end of it, but no shame.What would fans do now? The very fact that you took the last exit to the international championship at a time when Yugoslavia still existed is extremely depressing.

Since that time, there have been eight major tournaments. If Svendsen issued his statement at the end of the 90s, he would be considered heretics among the fans. The Norwegians are, in fact, a proud people who want to measure forces with the best.

The FIFA has published the first edition of its international ranking in 1993.

October of that year was Norway second, for Brazil, who at that time had a team like Romario, Bebeto and Dunga.The Vikings drew their strength from rock defense; National heroes were then the unmistakable islanders, Rune Bratseth, Ronny Johnsen and Henning Berg. In front of them were players joining traditional hard-hitting hard-working techniques – Erik Mykland, Oeyving Leonhardsen, Staale Solbakken, or Kjetil Rekdal. Finally, starred Tore André Flo, supported by Lars Bohinen and Jan Aage Fjortoft, rushed into the attack. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, considered the best joker in the history of the Premier League, was the Norwegian. This was a balanced, strong team in all respects.

Maybe qualitatively the Vikings have never been on the second place of the world rankings, but they still have a horror.Today, the Norwegian team is in the rank of FIFA seventy, between Trinidad and Tobago and Benin.

With smaller soccer nations, of course, a great generation is going to clear the field, and there is not enough talent in the country to replace it. But is this a Norwegian case? The team around Berg and Co., who left the track on MS 1998 and Eura 2000, replaced a new batch of skillful players headed by John Carew, John Arne Riis, Brede Hangeland, or Morten Gamst Pedersen. Surely, we can argue that his role was also bad luck – the progress to Euro 2008 has overcome the Norwegians goal Thomas Myhre, whose two coils helped to eliminate the Vikings in the barrage with Turkey. But that does not mean anything.The Norwegians made a generational change, failed a few times, and now they have fallen to the European (below) average.

More importantly, a series of bruised qualifications has shed a inferiority complex in a once-proud team. If in 2000 the Norwegians believed they could defeat anyone, today they are in a state where they are virtually nothing negative. And if they play with some of the world’s elite, they do not even try. The last match with Germany is proof.

This leads to one persistent problem: the leader simply misses the representation. Both in the cabin and on the coaching chair – and also at the head of the union.The inability to pull a rope, to face the wall, and to ignore the seemingly irresistible obstacles-the qualities that Nora has recently adorned-are reflected in the team’s poor psychics. In the expanded Euro 2016 format, the Hogm team had a great chance to break the qualifying drought; He broke into a barrage where he played against the Hungarians, the paper the weakest possible opponent ever. Most nations believed that this time, after seven disappointments, they would finally come together.

Result? After a 1-0 home loss, Per-Mathias Hogmo decided for an unexpected experiment: he made a team without a classic striker for the first time ever in Budapest. But there was only 17-year-old midfielder Martin Odegaard.The determination to put the teenager in the basic set of the most important match of representation in the last 15 years had to be either brilliant or crazy. The problem is that Hogmo had no more significant plan; He played vabank just because he got ideas. That’s not a natural thing – and since then, the coach has been under intense pressure from the public.

The fans just ask how it is possible that a coach who obviously is unable to reach the final tournament still remains at the helm – And more, it is not bad at all.According to backstage, he even earns more than Erik Hamrén (when he led the Swedes at the Euro), Adam Nawalka (coach of the Poles) or even the Welsh pilgrim Chris Coleman, who has a fresh bronze medal from the continental championship. P> Hogm’s story is a sad example of burnout. During the three years with the Norwegian rudder he went through several phases; At first it seemed that an innovative wind would bring in a dull, overwhelmed island style, but it turned out that something like that in modern Norway does not work. His curriculum vitae is not bad at all – he successfully coached several youth levels, female representation, Rosenborg and Tromso. The problem is not that he has no idea.The problem is that he can not apply it to the team at his disposal. Moreover, his strange expressions in prints often put fans into even more confusion: nobody simply knows what it means “performance culture”, “movement in a block” or “educative dimension.” Add to it the dubious decisions during the match and the vague gaming style, and the result is growing frustration among the loyal.

“Our players must be ruthless,” said Hogmo in 2014 Has set two bold goals: to penetrate the Euro in France and to get a medal two years later at Mundial in Russia. “If we want to do it, we have to be a lot better than we do today. We work hard every day,” he said, but the results are not coming.Of the thirty-three games he has lost just half, and his winning balance reaches 29%, which is certainly not the statistics of a man who should take precious metal at Mundial in two years. These are numbers below the average, at best the average European team. That Hogmo could not admit this fact just two years ago – that Nora was not expecting any glory in his present state – he systematically meant to cut off his own branch from the fans.

Legends (Norwegian edition)

It would not be fair to mess with Hogma; NFF itself is thirsty in unreal chaos.Former Yngve Hallen, head of the union, was forced to step down after publicly acknowledging his support later to the convicted UEFA boss Michel Platini. But that’s not his biggest fault. Most supporters can not forgive him as he defeated the legendary coach Egil Olsen, the man who had built the last famous Norwegian team. In the 1990s, Olsen was a legend; If he left his career in the club scene after leaving 1998, he would become immortal. But in 2009 the then union leader, Sondre Kåfjord, decided that his services were needed again. True, Olsen’s second engagement with the national team was far from successful.Still, the way Kåfjord’s successor to Hallen with the legendary coach has settled remains a thorn in practically all fans.

It was written in September 2013 when Hallén and General Secretary of Kjetil Siem had decided that the new coach Will be Per-Mathias Hogmo.


Negotiations were held behind closed doors and the result was a desire for Hogmo to take office immediately. The problem was that Olsen had been working with the team on the last two qualifying matches in the World Cup with Iceland and Slovenia. The result was a huge leak, Olsen’s union still owes proper compensation, qualification ended with a fiasco, and above all – the most successful coach of national history was thrown away without a pardon as an unwanted person.His second engagement may not have gone well, but such a fate was simply undignified for a person in his format. The relationship between the fans and the NFF has logically cooled to the freezing point.

Not that this was the only trouble the association did. Norwegian Josimar newspaper in 2016 revealed the fact that Kjetil Siem – currently a close associate of FIFA Chief Gianni Infantine – is one of the active lobbyists for Alexandr Ceferin, Slovenia’s top candidate in UEFA.Terje Svendsen also supported Ceferina, which, according to Josimaru, may have a connection with the Slovenian vow that he will fight for Nordic country organizing for Euro 2024 or 2028. Both Ceferin and NFF subsequently denied this agreement, however, the atmosphere in Norwegian football environment remains uncertain; No one in the country knows how things are. Previously, such controversies were inherent – the goal of NFF (and all affiliated organizations) was to squeeze the maximum from the national team.Somewhere along the road between Olsen’s golden age and the present, there was a crisis point that no one could locate.

The light at the end of the tunnel?

The peasant is in a state of absolute disintegration, no one believes the coach, and the union itself collects practically exclusively negative reactions. Still, there is hope among survivors. The Norwegian youth picks are not bad at all – the twenty-one has won the bronze medals at the Euro 2013, and the best players of this choice today pay for a stable part. These include Omar Elabdellaoui (Olympiakos), Joshua King (Bournemouth) or Havard Nordtveit (West Ham). The current twenty-one has an unfinished jewel in Martin Odegaard.Real Madrid’s midfielder is still untested at senior level, but the public believes him. In Odegaard, long-suffering fans have finally a tangible promise; He’s supposed to be the one to raise the once famous team back to the stars.

And Odegaard is not alone. sportspel sverige Other peers, like the eighteen-year-old Sander Berge, for which Everton offered in the summer, are taking care of themselves. Another talent is Ole Selnaes, a clever midfielder from Saint-Étienne, who is also a junior and an actor (like Mats Moller Daehli). Mohamed Elyounoussi (Basel) or Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) also show great potential.These are players who have a genuine talent; The hopes of the Norwegian football nation are sticking to their future.

Of course, this does not mean that these players will have to quickly solve the Norwegian football problem in the coming months. Hope, however, exists. We are talking about a completely different generation, not burdened by Olsen’s baesta betting sidor inheritance; Odegaard was born in December 1998, half a year after Kjetil Rekdal changed his penalty to make the Vikings gloriously beat Brazil in Mundial, France. These players are not responsive to the past – their job is to contribute their own work to Norwegian football history.And the fact is that the current generation is the most talented for a relatively long time.

If you go through the backstage of the Ullevaal Stadium, you can see it everywhere: Photos of the famous Norwegians defeating the best world teams. Nostalgia. Screenshots of a team that did not have to be embarrassed; On the contrary, boldly urged the Southern Powers to a balanced fight for an uncertain outcome. The Memento of the Government of Egil Olsen, behind which the Vikings were struggling with their greatest powers. Beautiful football has never played on the West Coast of Scandinavia, but the results have been.

The Norwegians realize that their limited base has its limits – but they are proud. They do not mind losing them; He is defying their defeat.Over the past two decades, they had to watch their biggest rivals – the Danes and the Swedes – move to one championship after another, produce top footballers (Ibrahimovic, Eriksen) and play a dignified role on the international stage. Even the formerly denigrated Iceland this year has shown that it is possible to assert itself globally with limited resources . And Norway wants the same.

Nobody doubts that this qualifying group will win the perfectly robot Germans. Competition is treacherous; The Czech Republic and Northern Ireland have introduced themselves to the Euro, which means that Norway is currently up to fourth in terms of power. Azerbaijan and San Marino are paper outsiders, but at least the first-mentioned team now has an advantage.Hogm’s charge is still not too late; Something must change.

At this point, it seems that the idea of ​​progressing to the Russian Mundial is perceived in Norway rather as a wishful thinking. This qualification, for now, seems to be an extremely unpleasant transition between the proud memories and grandiose dreams. However, the next Euro will no longer have apologies. This would mean that the Vikings are absent in a big tournament of 20 years. And although the Norwegians themselves know that the current team is looking for a new identity, they would suffer something very similar, very hard.

(Original text: Jonas Giaever, translated from Guardian Sport Series Network)

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