MX23RW : Friday, July 30 14:43:23| >> :600:4727768:4727768:
Sep 4, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Ullevaal Stadion
NorwayNorway
1-2
AustriaAustria
Braut Haaland (66')
Normann (51'), Linnes (76'), Sorloth (78'), Braut Haaland (86')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Gregoritsch (35'), Sabitzer (54' pen.)
Lainer (67'), Dragovic (87')

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

Sports Mole previews Friday's UEFA Nations League fixture between Norway and Austria, including team news and injury news.

Norway and Austria return to international action on Friday evening with a UEFA Nations League encounter in Oslo.

These two nations are joined in Group B1 by Romania and Northern Ireland, with the four teams all vying for promotion to the top tier of the competition.


Match preview

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

With Austria having already booked their place at Euro 2020, there is an argument that Franco Foda's outfit should be favourites to prevail in the curtain-raiser in Scandinavia.

However, they are facing a Norway side who have the potential to be one of the most exciting nations on the European scene with Martin Odegaard and Erling Braut Haaland emerging as key men in attack.

Naturally, it will take more than the two youngsters to guide his team into a new era, but Norway now have the talismen to contribute in the final third on a frequent basis.

Although Norway could only finish in third place in their European Championship qualification group, third spot behind Spain and Sweden during a period of transition was a solid achievement for Lars Lagerback's outfit.

That said, the level of expectation back home has now raised considerably, putting extra pressure on this squad to deliver important results over the course of the next three months.

From Austria's perspective, their attention will still be on putting together the best possible side for their appearance at Euro 2020, the third time they have qualified for the tournament in four attempts.

Presented with a far easier group than Friday's opponents, Austria claimed the runners-up spot in their group ahead of North Macedonia, Slovenia and Israel.

The fact that they failed to score against winners Poland in their double-header highlights that Foda's side have some way to go to make the step up, particularly against improving opposition such as Norway.

Nevertheless, the absence of star man David Alaba may only encourage the remainder of this squad to take on more responsibility, aware that this is an opportunity to make forward strides without the presence of their vice-skipper.

Norway form (all competitions): WDDDWW

Austria form (all competitions): WDWWWL


Team News

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring against Schalke on May 16, 2020© Reuters

Despite only being provided with two senior caps in the past, Haaland is expected to feature in the starting lineup on Friday night.

That will likely lead to Alexander Sorloth dropping down to the substitutes' bench, although Lagerback may tinker with his formation to accommodate the in-form forward and Odegaard.

There is a scenario where Sander Berge and Stefan Johansen could combine with Odegaard in a three-man midfield, a decision which would likely lead to Iver Fossum only being named as a replacement.

With Valentino Lazaro and Marko Arnautovic joining the list of notable absentees, Foda will be forced to make several changes to his team.

Xaver Schlager, Christoph Baumgartner and Michael Gregoritsch could all be brought into the first XI.

Norway possible starting lineup:
Nyland; Svensson, Reginiussen, Ajer, Meling; Daehli, Berge, Odegaard, Fossum; King, Haaland

Austria possible starting lineup:
Schlager; Lainer, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Ulmer; Baumgartlinger, Schlager, Ilsanker; Baumgartner, Sabitzer, Gregoritsch


SM words green background

We say: Norway 2-1 Austria

All things considered, this is an evenly-matched contest which could go either way. However, despite the lack of a crowd not helping Norway's cause, we feel that the Scandinavian side have the potential to kick on over the next few years, starting with a hard-fought win on Friday.



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Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

ROWING
· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

SWIMMING
· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

FOOTBALL
· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

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