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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 17 September, 2019
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And you are? Spotlight on Norway

Get to know Ireland’s opponents ahead of kick-off at Lansdowne Road tonight.

Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

NORWAY ARE CURRENTLY top of Group H in the qualifying for Euro 2012.

This is quite a difficult group containing Portugal, Denmark, Iceland and Ireland’s good friends Cyprus. Thus far they have a perfect record from three games.

Having travelled to Iceland and Cyprus and won, which is no easy feat, Norway have also quite impressively beaten Portugal in this campaign. Surprisingly Norway sit in the lofty position of 13th in the FIFA world rankings, 19 positions above Ireland.

Ireland and Norway’s last meeting was a friendly in August of 2008. The match finished in a 1-1 draw, but Ireland looked impressive throughout in what were dreadful weather conditions.

Arguably our most famous meeting was in the 1994 World Cup in America. A frankly dreadful match in the New Meadowlands Stadium resulted in a 0-0 draw.

This result ensured Ireland finished second and qualified, while Norway, who finished on 4 points like every other team in the group, were left to pack their bags to go home.

Interestingly Norway prevented Ireland from qualifying for the 1938 World Cup, after beating us 6-5 on aggregate in the World Cup qualifying game.

Like Ireland, Norway enjoyed a very productive decade in the 1990s, qualifying for USA 1994 and France 1998. They also qualified for the 2000 European Championships in Belgium and Holland. While Ireland have not taken part in a major tournament for eight years, its is 10 years since Norway participated in one.

Managed by Egil Olsen, whom many will remember from his Wimbledon management days, the Norway squad is made up of mainly home-based players with a small number of Premiership based players also.

See the full squad here.

Michael blogs at Greenscene, where this post first appeared.

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Michael Maher

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