October 19, 2021

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- Awesome fun - VG

– Awesome fun – VG

Ready: Ståle Solbakken in Saturday practice. In the background we see Stian Gregersen and Dennis Johnson.

ULLEVAAL STADION (VG) Ståle Solbakken was alarmed by Norway’s lack of a competitive advantage on home soil so far, but a 27,000-seat spectator is expected against Montenegro.

– We’ll make great use of the fact that it’s full Olival tomorrow. We’re really looking forward to it, and it’s going to be a lot of fun, because we’ve been waiting for this for two years, says Berger Melling.

Sunday night, there are only a few hundred tickets left for Monday’s home meet with Montenegro. This means that up to 27,200 places were taken.

– Almost ran out. I haven’t thought about if this will be a bigger (event) after the reopening, but I can’t think of anything that has collected more. In that case, he should be in central Oslo on Saturday night on reopening day, NFF Secretary General Pål Bjerketvedt wrote in an SMS to VG.

When Ståle Solbakken was asked about Norway’s missed chances, it was their first “home game” against Turkey that he referred to as the most annoying.

– We did not receive cheap salaries. We should have had three points in Turkey, but the chances weren’t great. You have to rely on football. What bothers me is that the first match against Turkey was played in Malaga. It was a totally surreal place for everyone, says Solbakken.

Tucked: During the match at home against the Netherlands, there were 7,000 spectators. Now there are almost four times as many. This is the first time since Ståle Solbakken has taken over as national team manager.

The ‘home match’ in Malaga ended in a 0-3 loss and could prove fatal. Norway is only two points ahead of the Turks with three matches remaining.

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The meeting with Montenegro is the first, before Latvia on its own land and the Netherlands far away from the next meeting. By winning all matches, Norway qualified for the World Cup.

Now the national team manager has a clear message for those who are considering Olival on Monday.

– I think the players responded well to the great crowd that was here last time, and maybe then it was only seven or ten (thousands). We hope with the same enthusiasm it will spread to the field so you don’t feel a little tired, says Solbakken.

In a video released by the Norwegian Football Association, it is clear that the national team manager is using Monday’s frame as a motivating factor. In the locker room after 1-1 in Istanbul, he repeated himself several times:

– Now we have everything to play for. Everything to play for. Everything to play for. That match against Montenegro would now be a different kind of football match. We have to be ready for that, and that mission begins now (…) so that we are ready to take pictures in front of the crowded Ullevaal on Monday, says Solbakken in the video.

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He also explained in the video that “everyone knows now that Norway is a team to be reckoned with.”

– Only that last match against the Netherlands (7000 spectators), even with the restrictions that were, it was great. Berger Melling says it gives us chills to get out and feel supported.

Against Gibraltar, 10,000 spectators were allowed.

– They are doing a tremendous job and we will contribute everything we can so that there is a good atmosphere tomorrow, says the left-back.