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Norway: A soccer powerhouse in construction

Although they are not famous for their soccer success, nowadays, several Norwegian young stars stand out in great teams in Europe .

Forward Erling Haaland

Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland receives the ball in the match against Freiburg on matchday three of the Bundesliga. / Photo: Guido Kirchner / dpa

Latin American Post | Juan Manuel Bacallado

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Leer en español: Noruega: Una potencia futbolística en formación

Norwegian soccer has never been an example in this sport, since, although the inhabitants of this country massively support this sport and have an efficient league system, to date they have not achieved a professional achievement. In fact, the Norwegian team has only participated in three World Cups (1938, 1994 and 1998) of which, on two occasions, they reached the round of 16. As for the Eurocup, he only participated in 2000 where he did not go beyond groups. The only title of this selection was in 2001 for a Chinese friendly tournament called the Carlsberg Cup held in 2001.

Improvement process

Recently Norway has started to “export” qualified players as promises and future superstars, so much so that they are playing in important teams in Europe. This is the case of Erling Haaland, current Borussia Dortmund scorer, Martín Odegaard of Real Madrid and Jens Hauge of Milan , none of these three players pass the age of 21, but they begin to show talented technical traits. The youth of these promises is no coincidence and is due to plans that the Norwegian government and federation have organized since 2007.

According to El Confidencial, in 1987 a document called "Children's Rights in Sports" was approved in Norway, but in 2007 it was updated and 57 sports federations in the country participate. In general terms, this plan aims to support sports talent from childhood, since 90% of Norwegian children practice some sport. This is why the Nordic country focuses on those under the age of 13 seeing sport as a social experience and not a competition. Likewise, it intends that beyond “falling in love” with its discipline, they develop a love of sport.

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To achieve this, Norway has eliminated the national championships in categories with children under 13 years old, while there are also no regional tournaments for children under 11 years old, leaving only local leagues between schoolmates and the same communities, this is done in order to avoid the anxiety and pressure of a competition to enhance enjoyment and skill development. Another technique to reduce pressure is to advise adults not to broadcast results or match scores.

Professional at 13?

Taking into account that children before the age of 13 have not developed their physique, much less their preferences, the Norwegian system waits until they reach this age so that they themselves choose a sport. Then, a more professional training begins to the point of being recognized by the federations and taken to specialized sports facilities . In these places, the promising youngsters receive personal training with professional coaches. In this way, Norway tries not to "burn" possible stars by pressuring them from a very young age and focuses on making sport a social and healthy experience wherever they decide.

Success in Soccer

NORUEGA LE SACÓ EL EMPATE A ESPAÑA

Con gol de ultimo minuto de King, Noruega da la sorpresa y le empata a España. Para la Furia Española descontó Saul

Final | Noruega 1-1 España pic.twitter.com/t2hnFPr6ev

— Analistas (@_Analistas) October 12, 2019

This model is having a long-term effect on Norwegian players. According to the FIFA ranking of men's national teams, Norway is currently ranked 44 , up from 88 in 2017. On the other hand, in 2018 they had the best win rate in 89 years, according to LWOS. The team could not qualify for Euro 2020, although it was in third place - second place goes to the playoffs - in a group where it managed to tie a game against Spain and Sweden surpassed it to be in second place .

As for the UEFA Nations League, where league B plays, he was only 3 points away from qualifying for league A, where they were affected after FIFA made him lose by forfeit by not being able to attend a match against Romania for a Covid case. They then had to send an alternative team against Austria, where they had to win to qualify but only took a 1-1 draw.

New stars

When it comes to Norwegian promises, you cannot miss Erling Haaland, who became known in May 2019 after scoring 9 goals in a U-20 World Cup match at just 18 years old. Six months later, Haaland signs for Borussia Dortmund for 20 million euros according to the newspaper Marca. Currently, its market value is 100 million euros according to Transfermarkt. This is due to his scoring record, at the age of 19 he reached 107 games and 62 goals, the same age when Cristiano Ronaldo had only 12 goals in 87 games and Lionel Messi had 20 goals in 63 games according to Nacion Deportes. The Dortmund scorer was also the second top scorer in the 2019-2020 UEFA Champions League.

 

Another outstanding promise in Martin Odegaard, at just 16 years old, the midfielder was signed by Real Madrid , where he initially went through several loans to be able to play minutes in first division teams. Beyond goals and assists, Odegaard stands out for his technique of handling the ball and passing with precision to break lines and move with agility in small spaces according to Coaches Voice.

Finally, Jens Peater Hauge is showing , the Norwegian winger has just been signed by AC Milan of Italy after scoring 35 goals and giving 30 assists in 117 games with FK Bodø / Glimt of his country . In Milan he is not a starter yet and has only played 280 minutes, and participations in the Europa League, a competition where he was known by Paolo Maldini (AC Milan coach) after a meeting between the rossonero and the Norwegian club. The result of that match, contrary to expectations, left the Italian winners 3-2 in a tight match thanks to the play of Hauge, who would convert a goal and an assist, at the end of the match Maldini would speak in the locker room with Hauge and so on negotiations began.