Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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Friday, May 30, 2014

May 31, 2014

International Friendly (Oslo, Norway): What will be the match result? (90 Min+Inj)

Russia: Win @ Norway: Win or Draw

An international friendly featuring Russia– who have just two more matches until the World Cup– and the struggling Norway, one of the many teams that will not visit Brazil this year. The Russian squad looks for more preparation for the upcoming event and hope to extend their streak to three, including victory over Slovakia, Armenia, and South Korea. Norway should target the Euro 2016, one of their few motivations here at Ullevaal Stadion. They've been through a series of challenges through the past few months, combining for a 7-0 loss against the likes of #16 France and Poland. 

Russia has blazoned three consecutive wins and are allowing just one goal during the whole streak. The Sbornaya have not posted many impressive victories lately, but have still proved to be capable defeating the higher-ranked teams. They have been 3-1-0 in their last four meetings with a national team that claims a spot above Norway and should take this one even more seriously as they'll be in Brazil very soon. Fabio Capello made the remark that he knows which players will find the starting lineup in the World Cup. His side is coming off a lackluster 1-0 win over the decent Slovakia squad only after Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the goal in the final minutes. However, they provided home crowd with plenty of action in the first half despite the scoreless sheet. Russia could be missing top striker Aleksander Kokorin, who was actually replaced by Kerzhakov earlier this week. They could also find Roman Shirokov and Vladimir Granat back on their lineup after they suffered their injury.

Norway is capsizing in a violent storm of adversity and tries to recover from the 4-0 loss vs France. I'm expecting the atmosphere to be not very effective owing to the fact that they failed a World Cup appearance against both Switzerland and Iceland. The underdogs' attempts of keeping the match an exciting one have been backfired against some of the better national teams in the world: France, the lower-ranked Poland, and Scotland. Norway is just 0-1-2 in their last three meetings with teams that rank within the top seventy-five spots in the world. The hosts could take advantage of the opponent's weakened attack, but I don't think they'll pull it off after the final whistle.

Key Facts:

- Norway has not won eight of their last nine matches (friendlies and qualifiers)
- Norway lost their last two matches by a combined seven goals
- Russia could be seeing captain Roman Shirokov and Vladimir Granat after suffering injuries
- Russia has posted three straight wins against teams all ranking higher than the Norwegians
- Low confidence, because this is a warm-up match while Russia may miss Aleksander Kokorin

Pick: Russia (Cold/Cool)