Sweden and Norway collided this Sunday at Friends Arena in Stockholm, in a thrilling match between two Scandinavian rivals. The game finished with a 1-1 stalemate, a result that didn’t left any fanbase satisfied given how the match unfolded.
Here are three things we learned from this entertaining match.
The recent H2H tendencies were maintained in this game
The recent matches between Sweden and Norway had been tight, contested affairs. That didn’t change here. Counting this game, now the last four H2H meetings between these two Scandinavian neighbours have ended in a draw. The last three have seen both sides scoring, and three over that span have finished with under 2.5 goals scored in total.
Norway have a slim edge on the H2H record when it comes to the past 10 meetings, with three wins against Sweden’s two and five stalemates. Furthermore, six of those games have had at least three goals, and seven have seen both sides scoring. Both traits happened this time as well.
The two playmakers stood out above the rest
Prior to kick-off, the two players to watch were Norway’s Martin Odegaard and Sweden’s Emil Forsberg. It’s safe to say neither disappointed based on their individual performance.
Odegaard, who’s on loan at Real Sociedad this season but is still owned by Real Madrid, delivered glimpses of his individual skill but proved to be decisive for Norway. The talented attacking midfielder set up Norway’s lone goal when he assisted Stefan Johansen with a great through ball on a counterattack.
Meanwhile, Forsberg netted Sweden’s loan goal. The RB Leipzig star placed the ball out of Rune Jarstein’s reach with a beautiful low shot from the edge of the box. Forsberg was also Sweden’s focal point on the attacking end, albeit that has been the norm since Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from the National Team.
Which side is on a better position to qualify for the 2020 European Championship?
With four games left in the European Championship Qualifiers’ Group Stage, Sweden are arguably in a better spot than Norway. The Swedes sit in second place with 11 points and control their own destiny, while Norway are fourth two points adrift their Sunday opponents.
Furthermore, Sweden’s next match is at Malta while Norway will host Spain. Sweden has a great chance to extend that gap if they can deliver another strong performance when the Qualifiers return next month.
Sweden: Olsen (5); Lustig (5), Lindelof (6), Granqvist (5), Bengtsson (5); Larsson (6), Olsson (5), Ekdal (7) (Svensson (-), 84’), Forsberg (7); Quaison (5) (Andersson (-), 77’), Isak (5) (Berg (-), 77’)
Norway: Jarstein (5); Elabdellaoui (6), Nordtveit (6), Reginiussen (5), Aleesami (6); Johansen (6) (Haland (-), 76’), Henriksen (5) (Elyounoussi (5), 64’), Berge (6), Selnaes (5); Odegaard (7); King (6)
Goals: Johansen (0-1, 45’), Forsberg (1-1, 60’)
Referee: Slavko Vincic
Yellow Cards: Ekdal, Larsson (SWE), Henriksen (NOR)
Red Cards: None
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