Monday, April 22, 2019

Prediction: Spain vs Norway

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 27/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Spain will begin the 2020 European Championship Qualifiers looking to leave their disappointing UEFA Nations League campaign in the rear view. They couldn’t have a better scenario to do so, however, since they will be at home and playing against a dangerous, yet inferior side such as Norway. The match will take place this Saturday at 19:45 hrs GMT at Mestalla Stadium.

Spain

Luis Enrique’s men are the unquestionable favourites entering the Euro 2020 Qualifiers since they’ve been squared in Group F with Sweden, Norway, Romania, Malta and Faroe Islands. While both Sweden and Romania could appear as threats, there’s no question La Roja should breeze their way through the Qualifiers rather easily. Their recent results should give them confidence going forward. Even though they lost their two most recent competitive outings – both 2-3 defeats against Croatia and England – they still register a W3, L2 mark in their previous five outings including friendlies. During that span, they registered a 1-0 win over Bosnia, a 6-0 drubbing against Croatia, and a comfortable 4-1 road win over Wales. There could be an argument to say all those teams are stronger than Norway. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Spain as the heavy odds-on favourite entering this tie.

Team News

Luis Enrique does not have injury concerns entering this game, although Fabian Ruiz was forced to leave the squad due to physical problems. Saul Niguez took his place on the team.

Norway

On the other hand, Norway looked impressive during the UEFA Nations League. They got promoted to League B since they won Group 3 with 13 points out of 18 possible (W4, D1, L1) against Bulgaria, Cyprus and Slovenia. To make things even better, they enter this contest on a four-game undefeated run and they’ve kept a clean sheet in each of their last three wins. However, they’ve gone W1, D1, L1 in their previous three road contests. And here’s no doubt playing against Spain should be a tough assignment for them. Norway must be realistic ahead of this match and while they have a decent chance to potentially pull the upset, they shouldn’t feel disappointed if they lose here. Their expectation should be to contest for the second place in the standings against Sweden and Romania. Losing here shouldn’t do any harm to that goal, but getting a positive result could allow them to boost their morale even more.

Team News

Norway are at full strength entering this match. Martin Ødegaard and Joshua King are two of the squad’s most recognizable players.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Six of Spain’s last eight matches have seen both teams score.
  • Goalfest? Four of Spain’s last five games have featured more than 4.5 match goals.
  • Each of Norway’s last seven matches have produced under 2.5 match goals.
  • Four of Norway’s last five matches have seen just one side scoring.
  • Spain own the edge on the H2H record thanks to a W2, L1 mark. Their two wins have seen over 2.5 goals scored.

Conclusion

Spain are massive favourites entering this game and they have been scoring goals for fun since the appointment of Luis Enrique. But they shouldn’t take Norway for granted, as the Scandinavian side could pose them quite a threat.

Expect this game to feature at least four goals, respecting Spain’s recent tendencies.

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 27/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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