Euro 2016 play-offs: Norway are Hungary for first leg coup
Lee Gormley | November 11, 2015
Norway v Hungary
- Euro 2016 play-offs
- Thursday, November 12th
- Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
- Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway
- Live on Sky Sports 3
Norway target first leg lift-off
Norway welcome Hungary to the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo for the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off tie, and it’s the hosts who will hold plenty of confidence, having remained unbeaten in this fixture for over 30 years.
In qualifying Group F, Hungary finished behind Northern Ireland and Romania to secure a play-off position, while the Norwegians rallied to third-place in Group H, with Italy and Croatia taking those automatic places.
Per-Mathias Hogmo’s home outfit are 3/1 with Coral to win this first leg clash by two or more goals, with a max stake of £20, while Hungary are 7/2 to emerge victorious on their travels to Oslo on Thursday night.
The hosts will no doubt take comfort from the fact they have never tasted defeat in this fixture before, with most recent victories coming in a 2-0 friendly in 2012, and back-to-back Euro 2008 qualifying wins, ending 4-0 and 4-1 respectively.
Norway are 14/1 to bag four or more goals again in this latest outing, against a nation featuring in their first ever Euro play-offs, though they did crash out of the 1998 World Cup version 12-1 at the hands of Yugoslavia on aggregate.
Although, the Norwegians haven’t had much luck in previous play-offs, having been thrashed 5-1 by Spain over two legs in their only other attempt. The hosts are 9/2 to make a better challenge this time by securing a first leg victory and both teams scoring, with a max stake of £20.
Surprise squad selections
It’s been 15 years since Norway last took part in European competition, back at Euro 2000, while Hungary have not been involved in a major international tournament since the 1986 World Cup.
Bournemouth forward Joshua King and Jonas Svensson are surprise omissions from the Norway squad, though Adama Diomande will miss out through injury. Forwards Mohamed Elyounoussi and Marcus Pedersen have both been recalled, while Orjan Nyland, Even Hovland and Celtic playmaker Stefan Johansen keep their places.
Hungary head coach Bernd Storck opted to drop midfielder Daniel Tozser from his set-up, which is a surprise to many travelling supporters, but Laszio Kleinheisler has received his maiden call-up to the squad.
Hogmo holds Hungary hope
Norway boss Hogmo knew goals were hard to come by in qualifying, having struck just 13 in the group stage, so he has decided to select striker Marcus Pedersen into his squad, who has netted 11 times in 10 outings for Stromsgodset.
The hitman’s goals helped his new club earn second position in the Tippeligaen, which concluded last week, and he is 6/1 to open proceedings here in Oslo.
“We have made a point of selecting players that are in very good form at the moment,” Hogmo explained. “That is why I opted for Pedersen in attack.”
Meanwhile, Real Madrid prospect Martin Odegaard is 10/3 to strike anytime, while Alexander Soderlund is 7/2 to fire his side to victory (max stake £20).
Hungary will have faith in former Liverpool frontman Krisztian Nemeth in their attacking ranks, and the Sporting Kansas City forward is 9/2 to score in an away victory on Scandinavian soil.
“These are important matches for our country. It has been too long since Hungary has qualified for the European Championship. We have a strong team with good players,” declared Nemeth, whose nation are hoping to end a 43-year exile from competition.
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See who else is in play-off action