Norway’s Second Golden Age
In the mid-nineties, Norway was a football powerhouse. The Løvene reached unprecedented heights and struck fear into the hearts of footballing aristocracies. Now, almost 30 years later, a new golden generation is blossoming up north.
Heroes of Yesteryear
Norway’s first golden era was masterminded by Egil “Drillo” Olsen. With Ole Solskjær, Ronny Johnsen, Stig Bjørnebye, Alf-Inge Håland, Tore André Flo and plenty more playing in the Premier League, Olsen had a plethora of quality players on his squad. These legends, who once rubbed shoulders with World Cup superstars from Germany and Brazil, have been immortalized in Norwegian football lore. Many of them continue to have an impact on the Scandinavian game as coaches, mentors, and even relatives of some of the upcoming national stars.
Norway’s next generation of talent is poised to rank among Europe’s elite. Sander Berge and Mats Møller Dæhli are part of a Genk squad that played in the Champions League group stage, Morten Thorsby is competing in Serie A, Thomas Rekdal is at Mainz in the Bundesliga and then there are the outliers: Martin Ødegaard and Erling Håland.
Ødegaard, the former teenage sensation who signed for Real Madrid in 2015, has matured and—after arguably being the best player in the Dutch Eredivisie last season—is now one of the most exciting players in La Liga. (He’s on loan to 5th place Real Sociedad).
The Norwegian Zlatan?
Erling Braut Håland, son of Alf-Inge, recently made the wise decision to join Borussia Dortmund amid speculation of a potential transfer to Manchester United. The 19-year-old phenom has been on a rampage since leaving his home country to join RB Salzburg, scoring 29 goals in 27 games.
The Dortmund higher-ups seem to have pulled off a coup, signing the striker for just over $20 million, and barring any fitness issues, he’s in line to make his debut against Augsburg this upcoming weekend.
If Håland hits the ground running, it won’t be long before the football financial behemoths come knocking. For now, though, he is at Dortmund where he is expected to pick up where he left off at Salzburg, and with the Bundesliga title race still wide open, he could be the deciding factor.
For Håland and Norway, Euro 2020 qualification is still possible, and with the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, Norway’s new golden generation could shock the world in Qatar.
Illustration by @inakivector.
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