Sunday’s clash means neither Sweden (3 points) nor Slovenia (2) can catch up with Norway in the standings. Group winners are Norway (10 points) or Serbia (7).
– We’d like to have twelve, but shouldn’t complain about ten points. We have to build on this and become better all human beings. I’m looking forward to autumn, it can only come, said Erling Braut Haaland soccer.no having contributed five goals and one assist for Norway’s six goals so far in the national league.
With Serbia’s away win in Ljubljana, there would only be one point in Norway’s favor, now three. If Norway win away against Slovenia on September 24 and Serbia simultaneously score points against Sweden, Norway will be group winners before Serbia travel to Ullevaal. A draw for Norway and a defeat for Serbia will give the same result.
The situation for the Solbakken team is so favorable that Norway even with a defeat in Slovenia and at the same time Serbia’s victory over Sweden will become the group winners with a draw against Serbia in Ullevaal on September 27. Then the teams ended up on the same scoreline, and Norway took the lead in a joint finish thanks to an away win in Belgrade.
Battle of Fate
On the other hand, Serbia will have the chance to get past Norway with a win at Ullevaal if the gap between the teams is three points or less even after the first match in September. While one point against Serbia is guaranteed to be enough, three points in two games may prove too little.
Norway’s win in Slovenia does not relieve tension if Serbia takes all the points against Sweden. At the same time, it will be allowed to expect Swedish help. Sweden need the points to keep Slovenia behind and avoid relegation to the C-division. Sweden should hope for Norway’s victory in Slovenia.
A group win means promotion and a match against the best in the next edition of the national league. It will also make the road to the European Championship finals in Germany in two years wider and less steep.
The four group winners in division B (and the best runners-up) will be seeded at tier two in the European Championship qualifying draw in October. This is important because some of the big countries are struggling in the National League’s A division. Currently, countries like France and England are last in their group and are on their way to the second seed. If Norway ends up in level three, Solbakken’s team may risk ending up in a group with, for example, Spain and France, where only the best two will be ready for the European Championship.
A group win will also guarantee an extra chance for a European Championship spot if qualifiers don’t go as planned. Depending on which team qualifies, there is a high chance that 2nd in the group will also get a place in the national league rematch for the EC spots, and it is not impossible that Norway have picked up enough points to go through that pinhole. The best four teams in division B that do not secure a place in the European Championship in the usual way will earn a place in the playoffs.
Presumably, Solbakken and his men would probably break a playoff drought by finishing in the top two in the qualifying group, and with ten points in four games played over eleven days, they have laid an excellent foundation for achieving profitable seeding.
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