(Northern Ireland – Norway 1-5) It is wonderful to be a national team manager when you have strikers who make the job easy for you. Alexander Sørloth (24) and Erling Braut Haaland (20) maltreated Northern Ireland in one hour.
Both are 194 centimeters. Both are strong. Both are quite fast. And both love to score goals. 44 goals for Haaland at club level turned into two against Northern Ireland. 33 goals for Sørloth at club level became two against Northern Ireland. We had hoped and believed that the two would form a dangerous duo on the national team.
Monday night we got the answer – to both that and that Norway had understood the seriousness.
We called for a reaction from Lars Lagerbäck and the A national team for men after the slightly shocking performance that was shown against Austria at Ullevaal Stadium on Friday night.
It came – immediately. Lars Lagerbäck is not a man with a high heart rate very often. But towards Northern Ireland, the pulse gradually became lower than normal.
And the reason was Norway’s newly composed striker pair, Sørloth and Haaland, sons of two of Norway’s World Cup heroes from the World Cup in 1994.
Now Alexander Sørloth and Erling Braut Haaland will try to shoot Norway towards the first WC since 1998, and the first EC since 2000.
It also helped a lot to bring in a creative player like Mohamed Elyounoussi on one side. And then it is of course an important point that Northern Ireland is a far weaker team than Austria, and not least a team that suits Norway much better.
But it is allowed with a little praise on a day like this, where the joy of playing, good performances from many players – and a tremendous efficiency made it an evening of joy in Belfast for Norwegian football masters.
See the goals here:
Mohamed Elyounoussi had not started an international match for Norway since March 2019. He spent a minute and 40 seconds showing that he has been missed. A brilliant long pass from captain Stefan Johansen, who played a good match, was silky softly taken down by «Moi». And the ending left no doubt:
Norway was in the lead, just before the match had started.