Luis Enrique’s Spain team kick off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a potentially tough test at home to Norway. This is a new era for Spain, who enjoyed a mixed Nations League campaign last year, and did not have the greatest of World Cups last summer. Enrique clearly has rebuilding on his mind, having called up eight new players for this game. In their last two games in the Nations League, Spain were beaten 3-2 at home by England, and then lost by the same scoreline away in Croatia. While La Roja should qualify from Group F without too much trouble, Spanish fans will also want good results, along with signs that the team are on the way back to the top of the international pyramid.
Lars Lagerbäck’s Norway team enjoyed a decent Nations League campaign, and come into this game on the back of four-game unbeaten run.
Spain vs Norway Prediction: Spain 1-1 Norway
Our prediction for this game is that it will end in a score draw, with 1-1 looking the likeliest outcome to us. Spain may well play some new faces, and this might contribute to their performance being a little disjointed. Real Madrid forward Martin Odegaard may well play for Norway, giving Spanish fans a familiar face to watch in the game. Norway certainly have enough forward power to score at least once, with creative players like Markus Henriksen and Iver Fossum in the team. The visitors may well take the lead, but Spain have too much quality to lose a game like this at home.
Our recommended tip: Draw, 1X2
Our featured tip for this game comes from Paddy Power, who are offering odds of 11/2 on the 1X2 market on the game ending in a draw. While the bookies have made Spain strong favourites for this game, we suspect that they will find things tougher than the odds on them winning suggest. This is a Spain squad that is in a period of transition, and, with some new faces in the team, they may struggle to play in a coherent style, at least early in the game. We suspect that Norway may score an early goal which Spain will equalise late in the game.
These two sides have played each other on six previous occasions at senior level, but have not met since 2003. Spain have won four games, Norway have won once, and there has been one draw in those six games. Norway’s solitary win came at Euro 2000, when they won 1-0 in a Group C game. Stefan Iversen scored the game’s only goal that day. The most recent meetings were in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2004. Spain won 2-1 in Valencia in the first game, and then won the second meeting, in Oslo, 3-0.
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Players to watch: Jaime Mata & Martin Odegaard
Getafe striker Jaime Mata was called up to the Spain squad for the first time for this game. He has received his first call-up relatively late in his career, having reached the age of 30 without being capped. He has been an important component of his club’s surge to fourth place in La Liga. In his 25 Liga matches in 2018/19, Mata has scored 13 goals and provided his team-mates with six assists.
Martin Odegaard is currently on loan at Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem from La Liga giants Real Madrid. He has told the press recently that he is pleased to see Zinedine Zidane’s appointment as manager at Los Blancos, as he has a good relationship with the Frenchman and believes he will get more opportunities to show what he can do in Spain. He is likely to have a chance to impress Zidane with a good performance against Spain this weekend.