Norway host Georgia on Tuesday evening, in a game which looks set to be a thriller. The action packed reverse fixture earlier in qualifying ended in a 1-1 draw, yet this time around both sides must win.
Stale Solbakken’s side are in third place currently, picking up four points after four matches which will most definitely frustrate the Norwegian fans who dream to see their side in the European Championships. Norway’s biggest issue in qualifying has been their defending and they have conceded in every game so far. The match versus Scotland will haunt them after they looked set to pick up three points before they conceded twice in the 87th and 89th minute to lose 2-1.
The Norwegian squad is very talented and if it wasn’t for their tough group, they would probably have a foot in the European Championships already. Obviously the main man for Norway is Erling Haaland, but the likes of Martin Odegaard and 18-year-old prospect Antonio Nusa will also have a huge role to play in the remaining fixtures.
After three matches, Georgia picked up four points and were very much competing for a qualification spot. However, last week’s humiliating 7-1 defeat at home to Spain has certainly supressed those aspirations and it would take incredible character to bounce back versus Norway. The performance by Willy Sagnol’s team was completely unexpected and each player looked almost disinterested after conceding the first goal in the 22nd minute.
Despite Thursday’s result, Georgia do have some quality players, especially in the attack. Their man star is Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who had his breakout campaign last season, registering 22 goals and assists, and helping his side win the Serie A. Another forward who has a huge role in qualifying is Ajax’s new signing, Georges Mikautadze. The 22-year-old striker is pure finisher and a true goal scorer, Georgia’s chance of qualification almost solely relies on the performances of the duo.
It is difficult to look past the giant defeat that Georgia suffered last week when trying to predict the outcome of this game. Both teams have to win so we should witness an exciting matchup. Norway look far more secure and after all, they do have Erling Haaland up front …
The final prediction is Norway 2-1 Georgia