Euro 2012 Qualifying Preview: Norway - Portugal

The Selecao will be desperate to bounce back in Group H...
Flying High And Wild

Norway commenced their Euro 2012 adventure with a 2-1 comeback win against Iceland away from home on Friday in their opening game of the qualifying campaign. It wasn't a very convincing victory for Egil Olsen's side but it was an important win nevertheless.

Norway welcome a dysfunctional Portugal at Oslo on Tuesday and will make all possible effort to gain maximum points. Former Manchester United and Norway striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that they can emerge victorious in this fixture.

"It's going to be a massive test for our boys," Solskjaer told "Three or four of them play abroad but most play in Norway and they can make the step up in tempo, in quality of passing. You might get just one or two chances to score.

"We've got a hard group, that's for sure. Portugal are one of the greatest teams in the world. We are quite realistic about our chances. I think maybe Portugal will run away to win [the group], but we've got a good chance of being number two. We started really well this season with a win against France in a friendly a couple of weeks ago. We've got to be positive."

Bouncing Back

Portugal have had a disappointing World Cup in South Africa and their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign started on a sour note as well, as the Euro 2004 finalists were held to a 4-4 draw by Cyprus at home. It was a thrilling match but was also marred by some horrendous defensive performance from the Portuguese.

After the match, Portugal's temporary coach Agostinho Oliveira tried to explain, "I admit there was a lack of competence in a defence that is usually competent.

"It's not easy explaining this. This defence is solid. We had two men in front of the centre backs and this result is hard for me to swallow."

Centre-back Ricardo Carvalho has now called for his side to tighten up at the back and said, "Our focus was good going into the game. But we started badly, and even though we got into a winning position we didn't manage to go on and get the win.

"We could have scored a fifth goal [when leading 4-3] but didn't and in the end we ended up with the draw. We have to be more compact, especially at the back. We played well going forward but we're normally more secure in defence."



Coach Olsen is likely to start with the same players who started against Iceland on Friday.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Knudsen, Hangeland, Waehler, Hogli, Riise; Pedersen, Hauger, B. Riise, Grindhelm; Huseklepp, Abdellaoui


Cristiano Ronaldo was already absent from the squad and now Fabio Coentrao has been ruled out because of injury.

Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Eduardo, Miguel, Carvalho, Alves, Silvio; Quaresma, Danny, Meireles, Fernandes, Nani; Almeida is proud to be a premier partner of and as such is pleased to offer exclusive invitations to our users to become a participant in the Alpha launch of the new Click here for your access code for the alpha site - act now as invitations are limited!

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