ULLEVÅL (VG) It will slam when Norwegian and Serbian fighters bark together in search of victory in Thursday’s European Championship playoffs. The two squads contain no less than 17 players over 189 centimeters.
The duel is terrifying.
The “Balkan guys”, as Erling Braut Haaland has christened Serbia, can boast ten – from striker Aleksandar Mitrovic at 189 cm to Fiorentina stopper Nikola Milenkovic at 195 cm. And that without counting with Nikola Maksimovic (193 cm) who did not get permission from Napoli to travel to Oslo to play the important match that gives the opportunity to fight for a place in the upcoming European Championship finals.
The winner goes to the final of the European Championship playoffs and meets Scotland or Israel in a decisive battle for the European Championship. The loser must see the championship from the sidelines.
The Norwegians have also ingested enough breast milk and concentrates: From Stefan Strandberg and Morten Thorsby at 189 cm to Kristoffer Ajer at 198 cm, the Norwegian squad consists of seven players in this order of magnitude.
The figures should not come as a shock: Norway (4th) and Serbia (5th) are in fact among the five countries in the world with the highest average height in the population – only beaten by the Netherlands, Montenegro and Denmark.
– I expect tough duels, says Serbia stopper Milenkovic to VG.
– I am not very tall myself, but Serbia as a nation has many tall people. I think Norway and Serbia are the national teams with the most tall players. It will be very interesting to watch these duels, says Serbia’s national team manager Ljubiša Tumbaković.
– Of course it will be intense, says Haaland, who does not make his way into the air (194 cm), but who has other qualities that can take the Serbs to bed, according to national team manager Lars Lagerbäck:
– In defense, all the players to Serbia are over 1.90, so in that way they are big, but I do not think they have Erling’s speed or Martin Ødegaard’s quickness to name two players, so we can defeat it in different ways.
Serbia will probably compete with the stopper trio Nikola Milenkovic (195 cm), Strahinja Pavlovic (194) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (187 cm) against the Norwegian lighthouses Haaland and Alexander Sørloth (193 cm).
– We are very good along the ground, and then we are very good in the back room as well. I do not think they are the fastest, so if we get to record behind them and come one on one against them, then we can create big problems for them, Sørloth says to VG about the attack strategy.