Tonight we need something to smile about

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Negativity and positivity have gone hand in hand for a long time for the Norwegian football masters. The only thing that seems to be stable is the instability. The question is why – and who its “fault” it is.

One good result is followed by a sharp downturn. Also within the matches, it has fluctuated sharply – also in the previous home match against tonight’s opponent Romania, where Norway led 2-0, but was caught again. The loss of points meant a lot for the continuation.

Tonight we all need something to smile about.

National team manager Lars Lagerbäck thinks media houses made too much, that this is an “ok” national team, but not one you should be able to demand the whole world from – for the time being. But here, too, one is colored by the result: If Norway wins, “hausingen” is not an issue.

Only if there is a loss.

That’s how it works. Media does not win – anyway.

But Lars Lagerbäck should win against Romania tonight to get something nice to talk about – again – after the very weak performance against Serbia on Thursday. A weak match against Austria was replaced by a very strong one away against Northern Ireland – before it was weak again against Serbia.

Then it is not so easy to know whether one should be positive or negative …

There is a lot of talk about a young, Norwegian team and that there is a reason for the instability.

26.6 years was the average age of the players Lagerbäck sent on the field against Serbia. A completely normal average age, neither high nor low. The expectations are probably rather due to the fact that Norway has produced quite a few good football players in recent years, mostly offensive players.

Part of Lagerbäck’s problem is that it is the youngest who are also the best and most important players, that it is they who must take the greatest responsibility – already now. And it has proved difficult. Defensive stability is frighteningly weak. The best Norwegian national teams from the time of Drillos and Nils Johan Semb have been built on a defensive security, where the attacking game has come as a result of good defensive play.

The same would happen under Lagerbäck. The goal was to get down to 0.5 backwards on average per game. He managed that – in 2018, but then the opponents were also weaker than they have been in 2019 and 2020.


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