National team coach Heiji Reyes (53) will certainly not choose the path of least resistance towards the World Cups in Australia and New Zealand next summer.
After losing 0-7 against the Netherlands in June 2021 and earlier Worst loss ever against England in EC this summer (0-8) Norway has only encountered opponents with a lower rating. That means 14 caps against supposedly worse opponents.
In the run-up to the World Cup in August next year, Hege Riise will have four international windows as the national team coach hopes to face tougher opposition.
– We try to get two matches per window, and a total of eight World Cup matches starts. We work towards having opponents who match us along the way and we can learn from them to the fullest. We can learn a lot by meeting the best. It’s about getting really good at playing against teams like this and feeling closer than we’ve been in recent years, Rice tells VG.
The Norwegian Football Association did not come out with any restrictions if Reis managed to reach agreements with the major countries.
– No, we are working on this on all fronts now. The goal is to achieve this, says the coach of the national team.
National team captain Marin Megilde realizes that it will not be an easy task.
We want to face the best opposition possible, but now the situation is that those above us in the ranking also want to face the best opposition. We have to send some “courtship messages” with the message “Come and play against Norway, we need to match,” says Mjelde.
The Chelsea supporter believes Norway should also train to face a supposedly worse opposition “because we still have a lot to work on”, but:
– By playing against the best opponent, we get a reminder of what to strive for. We haven’t met big clubs before UEFA and then you don’t get the cues that we did in the tournament. It’s about getting to know this level a lot.
Sweden, who lost 0-4 to England in the semi-finals of this summer’s European Championship, also received a wake-up call and are now taking the same measure as Norway. Now waiting to be matched with some of the world’s best.
Sweden will play Spain away on 7 October and will face France at home on 11 October. In November, the trip will go to Australia to meet the World Cup hosts Australia.
– I think that’s what we need. Barcelona player Fridolfina Rulfo says: We need to put up some ‘shots’ Aftonbladet.
It’s also about finding balance. It’s not as if all 12 countries ranked higher are much better than us. We have to take into account the different playing styles and where we can practice and learn as much as possible, says Hege Riise.