Scots steal win in Oslo
Should Norway and Erling Haaland already fear missing the European Championship? After giving away a 1-0 lead against Scotland at home in the 87th and 89th minutes, the Norwegians can hardly afford any further slip-ups in the qualification series for the 2024 European Championship in Germany.
The 2-1 away win is already Scotland’s third victory in Group A. With nine points from three games, the Scots are on top. Spain is second with three points from two duels. Norway, which could still be passed by Georgia or Cyprus later in the evening, is currently third with one paltry point from three games.
With five games to go, a lot is still possible for Norway, but it won’t be easy. The frown on captain Martin Ødegaard’s forehead was deep. And that while Norway was certainly by far the better team before halftime. Although it did not sparkle either and did not produce a goal.
After an hour of play, Haaland decorated a penalty when he went down very eagerly after light holding. Haaland, who was playing out the festive mood after winning the Champions League with Manchester City, solved with an age-old soccer law that you should never take a self-inflicted penalty yourself. But the super striker shot tightly into the corner. His 22nd goal in 24 international matches.
With that, Haaland finally scored a goal toward the end of a rare soccer season. The Norwegian had not scored for five games in a row. An unusually long scoreless streak for City’s super striker. On the penultimate working day of his soccer season – Norway still plays Cyprus on Tuesday – he managed to do it after all.
Norwegian national coach Stale Solbakken took Haaland off early with a crowd change in the 84th minute. Base players in midfield Frederik Aursnes and Patrick Berg also went off. In hindsight, that turned out to be the moment when everything went wrong.
The Norwegians played the closing stages as if they had already secured victory. And the Scots, who until then had brought in almost nothing, did not just let that happen. They stepped up the pressure and in the 87th minute, after fumbling in the Norwegian defense, Lyndon Dykes suddenly made it 1-1.
Two minutes later, the Scots combined for the win with the most beautiful attack of the match. The ball was thrown all over to John McGinn, who at once found striker Dykes, who in turn calmly laid the ball back to Kenny McLean, who found the far corner with inside foot.
A goal that suddenly made the Norwegians’ European Championship qualification a precarious quest. The last time Norway played at a major tournament was the 2000 EC.