Ulval (Dagbladet): Leif Gunnar Smerud announced on Monday the national team squad that will face France twice at the end of October. After a nightmare start in the UEFA Nations League, Norway must pick up points in their upcoming matches against France in order to qualify for the Olympics.
– We need points, and I strongly believe in them, says Samrod.
Desire for revenge
After a turbulent World Cup finals this summer, the national team’s interim coach got off to a difficult start, with only a draw against Austria and a loss against Portugal.
-We were very disappointed after the last meeting. Although I was proud of the performance against Austria, the result was not what we wanted. He says the Portugal match was not good enough, so the match should be replayed.
Now we have two matches ahead of us against France, which stands with its full score after its first two matches. They did not concede any goals either. However, the national team coach believes that Norway has good chances in the matches.
– We performed at a high level against Austria. He believes that if we play like this, France may also have a difficult time.
– Nice focus
With just one point from the first two matches, an Olympic berth is at stake. In order to qualify there, Norway must ideally top the group, but in any case finish in first and second place. Now they are the last, but Samrod refuses to give up.
– As long as the Olympic place is in front of us, we will target it, says the national team director.
Smerud, who only works for the rest of the year, says he’s coping well with the challenge.
– That’s how she is. Last time there were six games remaining, now there are four. In that sense, it’s good to emphasize that it’s all about these matches, he says.
The interim coach of the national team may have to play the match without many of his stars against France. Ada Hegerberg is not in the squad, while Caroline Graham-Hansen risks missing matches due to injury.
– Caro’s exit has not been confirmed, so we hope she is ready. But it’s clearly an awkward situation if both Ada and Caro are missing, Smerud says.
Goro Riten also missed due to injury in the last match, but the group should not be in jeopardy for her.
It can move down
Although an Olympic place is still up for grabs, Norway may have to fight at the other end of Group A in the UEFA Nations League. The last place in the group of four moves to a lower level. This is where Norway is at the moment.
The matches against France will be held on October 27 and 31, the first of which will be at the Olival Stadium.
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