The emergency national team shocked in Vienna – still did not...

Although the Norwegian emergency national team did not win, they shocked Austria at times. Afterwards, the tribute stone flowed in.

Ghayas Zahid scored the leadership goal for Norway. Photo: LUDVIG THUNMAN / BILDBYRÅN

18. nov. 2020 22:38

Last updated just now

Austria – Norway 1-1

Around one and a half days in total. A short workout. A goalkeeper who arrived in a private plane just a few hours before the start of the match. Six debutants from the start. No one left them a special chance. No one gave them any particular expectation pressure. They had everything to gain, nothing to lose.

That was the starting point for the Norwegian emergency national team when the French referee Benoit Bastien blew the whistle at 20.45 on Wednesday night.

For the Norwegian emergency national team, it almost looked as if it was “namesake” police chief Bastian who started the match and came up with his well-known phrases:

“And by the way, you can do whatever you want.”

The historic score

Because at times the newly composed Norwegian team did exactly as they wanted at Ernst Happel Stadium.

Like when Bastien’s clock showed 61 minutes. Jørgen Strand Larsen stunned the ball further from a throw-in. Veton Berisha won the ball and got it with difficulty and hardly put it 45 degrees out in the field. Ghaya’s Zahid came storming in and put the ball to his feet.


And Zahid will forever be the first goal scorer on the most unlikely Norwegian national team in history.

– It is so deserved, exclaimed TV 2 expert Brede Hangeland without exaggerating.

But just as true as the emergency national team had no pressure, the conditions were also:

In order for Norway to win the Nations League group and get the opportunity for a World Cup playoff, they had to win the match with all but results other than 0-1.

Ghayas Zahid cheers after setting the leadership goal for Norway. Photo: LUDVIG THUNMAN / BILDBYRÅN

Thrilling ending

The Austrians also knew that. At 0-1, it was they who wanted to win the group. Therefore, they also pushed.

Only ten minutes after Norway’s goal came their biggest opportunity. Substitute Adrian Grbic had to finish from a few meters, but with a tiger leap Per Kristian Bråtveit in the Norway goal saved the ball with the nobler parts.

Eventually, the Norwegian players became clearly tired, so temporary national team manager Leif Gunnar Smerud had to make several changes. So many that in the end it was midfielder Kristian Thorstvedt and right back Andreas Vindheim who were the Norwegian striker pair.

Without strikers on the field, and many tired legs, Norway never managed to create the great chances to put in the decisive goal that had given the group victory.

Instead, it was Austria who put in the equalizer in overtime at Grbic. Thus, the match ended 1-1, and Norway ended up in second place in their Nations League group.

– They delivered a heroic effort that they can be proud of for the rest of their lives, Hangeland said after the match.

Andreas Vindheim is a daily right back in Sparta Prague. On the emergency national team, he had to come in as a striker for a finished Veton Berisha. Photo: LUDVIG THUNMAN / BILDBYRÅN

Receives unison tribute

Hangeland was far from the only one who used big words about what the Norwegian players achieved in Vienna under the unusual circumstances. Both during and after the match, many people paid tribute to the team.

“Thank you very much to the Norwegian, fantastic, national team”, writes Minister of Culture Abid Raja

«Immediate legend status for the emergency national team! It’s somehow not possible to ask for more »,

“Norway is proud of you”, writes Martin Ødegaard on Instagram.

“What a gang. Absolutely raw », writes national team captain Maren Mjelde on the photo sharing service.

“Congratulations on a fantastic match. All of Norway applauds »,

– There was a lot to enjoy here. I had almost not even hoped for something like this, said Egil “Drillo” Olsen on TV 2’s broadcast.

Mats Møller Dæhli was captain of the emergency national team. After the match, he was moved by what the team accomplished. Photo: LUDVIG THUNMAN / BILDBYRÅN

Touched captain

The temporary national team manager Leif Gunnar Smerud was also a proud man after the match.

– I am very, very proud of this. I hope the players are too. They delivered above expectations, he said in an interview on TV 2.

Tonight’s captain, Mats Møller Dæhli, was moved after the match over what the team had achieved.

– This was a sick experience. The spark and morale we show … I’m incredibly proud. Of course, it’s weird that we do not win, but I do not know if we could have done so much more. I’m just so proud, he said in an interview with TV 2.

– We showed up. I hope everyone at home had a nice evening and saw that we fought for Norway. That it, in an otherwise difficult time, was a pleasant experience. I hope they were proud of us, he concluded.

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