Norway squeezed by a stubborn Montenegro side to claim a 1-0 victory and all three points, as the Scandinavian side hope to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Following a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Turkey in the previous qualifying match, Norway knew they needed a win to keep close to the top of Group G.
And while Stale Solbakken’s side did that, the Norwegian manager will be disappointed by some of the individual performances from his key players.
❌ Erling Haaland: 6.0
With all tricky trips on the road, Norway knew Tuesday night’s clash could have been made much easier if their target man up front was on form. Unfortunately, for the third game in a row, Erling Haaland simply wasn’t up to it.
Over the course of the game the Borussia Dortmund striker managed just three shots towards the Montenegrin goal and failed to get a single effort on target. And despite having six touches of the ball in the opposing box, Haaland simply wasn’t able to offer anything at all.
Such was the towering striker’s poor performance that Solbakken decided to pull him off after 80 minutes. That now means three games Haaland has failed to perform or score in for the Norwegian national team.
❌ Martin Odegaard: 6.2
Unfortunately for Norway it wasn’t just Haaland that struggled to convert his club form over to the international stage. For much of Tuesday’s clash Martin Odegaard also struggled and, like his teammate up front, the Arsenal and Real Madrid star was pulled off after 81 minutes.
Before that the attacking midfielder failed to register a single shot towards goal, just three crosses into the box and two touches of the ball in the opposing box.
Over the course of the game Odegaard also averaged a pass completion rate of just 80% and gave the ball away on 13 separate occasions. It certainly wasn’t his best performance for his country.
⭐ Morten Thorsby: 8.7
While Norway’s attacking players may not have been at the races on Tuesday, defensive midfielder Morten Thorsby certainly was and for much of the game made sure that the hosts didn’t get a foothold back into the match.
Where Haaland and Odegaard were mick and tame on the ball, Thorsby bounded up and down the pitch with determination, completing no less than six interceptions and four tackles in the middle of the pitch.
Norway may have got away with one against Montenegro and it was almost certainly down to Thorsby’s industry in the middle of the pitch.