MX23RW : Tuesday, July 27 06:29:57| >> :600:3936799:3936799:
Mar 24, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Victoria Stadium
GibraltarGibraltar
0-3
NorwayNorway

Annesley (68'), Mouelhi (76'), Barnett (79')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Sorloth (43'), Thorstvedt (45'), Svensson (57')
Svensson (61')

Preview: Gibraltar vs. Norway - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's World Cup Qualifying - Europe clash between Gibraltar and Norway, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Gibraltar and Norway return to international action on Wednesday evening for their opening World Cup 2022 qualifier at Victoria Stadium.

The two nations are joined in Group G by the Netherlands, Turkey, Montenegro and Latvia and the visitors will be hoping to kick-start their campaign with a victory as they look to progress to their first major tournament since 2000.


Match preview

Norway pair Erling Braut Haaland and Alexander Sorloth celebrate against Northern Ireland on September 7, 2020© Reuters

After failing to qualify for Euro 2020, Lars Lagerback announced his resignation in October 2020 with Stale Solbakken the new man taking the reins, stepping into his first international job.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach has inherited a talented squad that has the potential to be one of the most exciting nations in Europe, with the likes of Erling Braut Haaland and Martin Odegaard emerging as key attacking players in recent years.

Solbakken is aware that it will take more than these two youngsters to guide his team into a new era but in Haaland, Norway now have one of the world's most sought-after strikers to contribute in the final third.

Norway's last international match took place in November 2020, with the Lions drawing 1-1 away in Austria, although with several players testing positive for coronavirus and with enforced government travel restrictions, wholesale changes were made to their matchday squad.

Now, the Lions head into this fixture against Gibraltar with a strong 31-man squad, fit and raring to go and they will fancy their chances of beginning their World Cup qualification campaign brightly and securing a commanding victory against one of Europe's weakest nations.

Norway's Erling Haaland in action with Northern Ireland's Trevor Carson in the UEFA Nations League on October 14, 2020© Reuters

Gibraltar will be taking part in only their second ever World Cup qualifying campaign and head into it as the rank outsiders, with dreams of a successful route to Qatar unlikely to be fulfilled.

In their previous 10 qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup, Gibraltar lost all of their games, conceding 47 goals in the process.

Since their acceptance as a full UEFA member in May 2013, Gibraltar have only ever won six of their 52 international matches, one against fellow Group G opponents Latvia, but their chances of claiming a positive result against Norway remains a tall order.

However, Gibraltar do head into this fixture with Norway after losing only two of their last six matches, including one win and one draw against both San Marino and Liechtenstein during their successful UEFA Nations League campaign, which saw them top League D2.

Head coach Julio Cesar Ribas will feel that encounters against Montenegro and Latvia are their only realistic opportunities to pick up points, but he will be hoping that his players can give a good account of themselves on Wednesday night, to give them confidence for rest of the campaign.

Gibraltar form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

Norway form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D


Team News

Joshua King scores for Norway on October 12, 2019© Reuters

With Gibraltar naming a 40-man squad for this international break, Ribas has plenty of personnel to choose from for their opening match against Norway.

Goalkeepers Dayle Coleing and Kyle Goldwin will be competing for the number one jersey, with Coleing most likely to get the nod after starting four of the last five competitive matches.

Winger Lee Casciaro, who scored Gibraltar's first ever competitive goal against Scotland in March 2015, could come into the starting lineup ahead of Mohamed Badr Hassan, while striker Tjay De Barr is expected to lead the line.

For Norway, it remains to be seen how Solbakken will set up for his first game in charge, but he may decide to stick with the 4-4-2 formation used previously under Lagerback.

Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge is unlikely to feature, despite being called up to the squad, as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi, who scored in the Old Firm derby against Rangers last weekend, is expected to start on the left-flank, while one of Joshua King or Alexander Sorloth could play up front alongside Haaland.

Gibraltar possible starting lineup:
Coleing; Sergeant, Chipolina, Wiseman, Mouelhi, Olivero; Walker, Ronan, Annesley, L. Casciaro; De Barr

Norway possible starting lineup:
Jarstein; Linnes, Strandberg, Ajer, Alessami; Odegaard, Midtsjo, Fossum, Elyounoussi; King, Haaland


SM words green background

We say: Gibraltar 0-5 Norway


With a talented squad emerging, Norway's levels of expectation have been raised considerably, with extra pressure now on them to deliver after failing to qualify for Euro 2020.

The Lions have been given a seemingly straightforward start to their World Cup qualifying campaign and should be too strong for Gibraltar, with a convincing victory expected for the visitors.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that at least one team will not score (BTTS - no) in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.BTTS No:curl


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