Thursday, March 23, 2017

Johansen: Beating Hungary won´t be as easy as people think

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 11 Nov 2015

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Stefan Johansen has warned that Norway will not have it easy against Hungary in their crucial Euro 2016 qualification play-off.

The winners of the two-legged tie will seal a ticket to France for next year’s tournament, with the games taking place on Thursday and Sunday.

Norway suffered heartbreak in the group stage when a defeat to Italy on the last matchday allowed Croatia to surge past them and seal an automatic place after winning their last two qualifiers.

Per-Mathias Hogmo’s men are favourites to progress at the expense of Hungary but Celtic midfielder Johansen insisted it is not a given that they will qualify for their first major tournament since Euro 2000.

“We lost against Italy so we were a bit disappointed with that but at the end of the day we have had great development since the new gaffer took over Norway,” the 24-year-old told Celtic View.

“Now we have Hungary in the play-offs and everybody expects us to win because they think it is the easiest draw but all of us know that it is going to be tough. 

“It doesn’t matter who you meet in the play-offs. I have seen a bit of them already and they are a good team. I think they are happy to get us too and it will be two tough games.

“There is a lot of positivity around the national team in Norway now. When I started it was not like this. There is a lot of optimism from the fans and we sell out the stadium at home and away games.

“It is a huge thing going on in Norway and we want to top that with trying to play in France next year.

“Now we are at the play-off and this is the chance. We cannot be afraid to say that. This is the chance to get there and we need to man-up and do it.”

Norway are at home for the first leg at Ullevaal Stadion against a Hungary side who finished behind Northern Ireland and Romania in their qualifying group.

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