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Preview: Norway vs. Czech Republic – prediction, team news, lineups



Sports Mole previews Friday’s friendly clash between Norway and Czech Republic, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Norway welcome the Czech Republic to the Ullevaal Stadion in the capital of Oslo for an international friendly on Friday evening.

While the visitors will have their eyes on the summer’s European Championships, Norway have missed out on a major tournament once again, with friendlies the only thing on their calendar over the next few months.

Match preview

© Reuters

Failure to qualify for Euro 2024 means it is now 12 major tournaments in a row that will not include Norway, forbidding Erling Haaland in particular from showcasing his talent on the biggest international stage.

That will give the Manchester City forward the summer off, but he still has four fixtures to play with his national side before the UEFA Nations League kicks off in the autumn.

Rather frustratingly, Norway have been excellent in their recent friendly matches, winning 10 of their previous 12, including 9-0 and 6-0 victories over Armenia and Jordan, respectively, in the past two years.

Norway were handed a very difficult draw for Euro 2024 though, facing one of the favourites Spain, arguably the biggest overachievers Scotland, and one of the strongest pot four sides in Georgia.

There will remain huge regret around their loss to Scotland early in the campaign though, going down 2-1 despite leading with three minutes to play, as that psychological blow also galvanised the Tartan Army.

The Lions would eventually finish six points behind Scotland, with no playoff spot to fall back on either, so a League B campaign against Slovenia, Austria and Kazakhstan is all Norway have on their plate for the rest of 2024.

Before getting into those competitive fixtures, they start a run of friendlies by facing the Czechs, a nation they have not enjoyed much success against, with just one win in their eight meetings since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Czech Republic's Tomas Soucek celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on October 15, 2023© Reuters

The visitors are not making the ideal preparation ahead of the Euros in the summer though, as their manager Jaroslav Silhavy resigned after narrowly guiding the nation to the finals.

October’s internationals were likely the turning point, as they were thrashed 3-0 in Albania and were very fortunate to see off the Faroe Islands on home soil.

A draw in Moldova earlier in the campaign also left them in trouble, as Czechia needed to avoid defeat to the Moldovans in their final qualifier to qualify.

After that underwhelming qualification, aided by Poland’s sudden drop-off, Silhavy resigned and has been replaced by Ivan Hasek, the man who briefly managed the national side in 2009.

Norway friendly form:

Norway form (all competitions):

Czech Republic friendly form:

Czech Republic form (all competitions):

Team News

Erling Braut Haaland in action for Norway on September 27, 2022© Reuters

Norway’s big-hitters Haaland and Martin Odegaard are in the squad and can expect to start unless any late knocks are picked up, with the Man City forward looking to add to his tally of 27 goals in 29 caps for his country.

There is no Fredrik Aursnes in the squad though, as the Benfica midfielder stunned many in Norway by announcing his international retirement at the age of just 28 last week.

Birger Meling remains out injured and one-cap Osame Sahraoui was a late withdrawal from the side, while Ola Solbakken has been dropped following his move to Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan.

After being sent home from the Czech camp in November for breaching disciplinary rules, Vladimir Coufal, Jan Kuchta and Jakub Brabec have all been left out, despite the change in management.

Lack of game time at club level has seen Vaclav Cerny and Alex Kral left out, while there is also no place for promising Sparta Prague defender Martin Vitik.

Ten of the 23-man squad still ply their trade with one of the Prague clubs though, despite the absences of Kuchta and Vitik, as well as Lukas Masopust, who is out injured.

Tomas Cvancara is also on the sidelines currently with Borussia Monchengladbach, while Lukas Sadilek is another recent omission.

Norway possible starting lineup:
Nyland; Ryerson, Strandberg, Ostigard, Bjorkan; Bobb, Berg, Berge, Larsen; Odegaard; Haaland

Czech Republic possible starting lineup:
Stanek; Zima, Krejci, Holes; Doudera, Soucek, M Sadilek, Provod, Jurasek; Chory, Hlozek

SM words green background

We say: Norway 2-1 Czech Republic

Hasek’s role will be to improve the fortunes of Czechia outside of their homeland ahead of the finals in Germany, considering they have won just two of their previous 12 away matches, and this should be a good test.

Norway with Haaland and Odegaard in the ranks cannot be taken lightly, and with home backing, they will fancy their chances of extending their fine run in friendly internationals.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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