– We’ve Taken Some Giant Steps – VG

- We've Taken Some Giant Steps - VG
Decision: Mohamed El Younosi cheers for victory with national team coach Stal Solbakken.

ULLEVAAL (VG) (Norway-Montenegro 2-0) Ståle Solbakken has cause for joy. Norway didn’t get any more qualifying points since he himself played red, white and blue. In terms of points, the national team hasn’t been better in 22 years.


We’ve taken some huge steps in terms of being clear with each other. When we meet in such a short time, nothing can be swept under the rug. We have to solve problems, Ståle Solbakken answers VG’s question about whether the culture in the national team is comparable to the culture he himself experienced as a player in the 1990s.

After eight World Cup qualifiers, Norway stands with 17 points. This has not happened since the turn of the millennium. Norway played 10 consecutive qualifiers without reaching the European Championship or the World Cup.

The national team stood in the 1990s with 20 and 19 points respectively after eight matches played in the World Cup qualifiers in France (1998) and the European Championships in the Netherlands and Belgium (2000). Solbakken has played in both of them and has scored a total of five goals on his way to the men’s national team so far in the last two football tournaments.

This is how NRK File reacted to Moi Elyonosi’s 2-0 goal.

Solbakken’s Norway top the qualifying results list after eight games this side of the millennium.

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: 17 points: Goals: 15-6. National Team Manager Solbakken

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European Championship 2008 qualifying: 16 points. Goals: 18-6. National Team Manager: Harid.

Euro 2012 qualifying: 16 points. Objectives: 10-7. National Team Manager: Drillo.

European Championship 2016 qualifying: 16 points. Objectives: 10-8. National Team Manager: Høgmo.

Euro 2004 qualifying: 14 points. Goals: 9-5. National Team Manager: Simp.

2006 World Cup Qualifiers: 12 points. Objectives: 10-7. National Team Manager: Harid.

There is reason to point out that Norway with points is on its way to the best World Cup qualifiers in many years. Åge Hareides Norway were close to qualifying for the World Cup, but in 2005 they lost both play-off matches against the Czech Republic.

“We’re not where we want to be, but we’re on our way,” Solbakken says.

He was delighted when Norway made their way through the second half with “a little bit of petrol in the tank” and beat Montenegro in front of a packed Ullevaal side. This sparked strong emotions in the locker room after the victory.

– I told men that two things should always be at the bottom. It is heart and organization.

But the Netherlands took all the points against Gibraltar, as expected, while Turkey won eight minutes of extra time in Latvia.

– I don’t spend any time on it. Turkey received and scored at the end of the matches. We can’t spend any time on that, he says with confidence that Norway can still win the group and become No. 2 with Latvia (at home) and the Netherlands (away) as contenders in November.

– We just did bad qualifiers. He says it was the first against Turkey.

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Density: Ståle Solbakken ensures that density on the field is not only maintained by Mohamed Elyounoussi & co.

– We got into the team so we can play in different ways depending on who we meet and what the match picture looks like. “I think we’ve done a good job, considering we have almost no training,” Solbakken adds.

Hans Norge made a variety of appearances in the eight qualifiers. These are some of the things Solbakken is happy about.

– We controlled the ball against Turkey, Latvia and Montenegro away. Here we had to have the heart and organization to win this battle. We responded well against the Netherlands at home.

He was hailed by the players after Norway won without Erling Braut Haaland and several potential first choices for four points against Turkey and Montenegro.

“It’s great to have a coach who puts so much of himself in,” Head of Defense Stefan Strandberg describes.

Followed by the scorer Mohammed Al-Yonusi.

“He’s captivated every single player and is asking us for more,” says the two-goal goalscorer who believes Norway have a team that bleeds for the group and plays with the heart. He adds:

– This is the start of something big. We are already looking forward to the next meeting.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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