Spain vs Norway predictions and match preview for Saturday’s Euro 2024 qualifier. Read on for analysis ahead of this Group A fixture in Malaga.
|Saturday 25th March 2023
|20:45 (local time)
|Euro 2024 Qualifier
Spain vs Norway Preview
The road to Euro 2024 begins in Malaga for Spain with a home game against Norway in Group A. It’s also the start of a new era as Luis de la Fuente takes charge of La Roja for the first time.
After the disappointment of a Round of 16 exit against Morocco in the World Cup, this feels an opportunity to reset under the guidance of a man who has been part of the Spain youth set-up for close to a decade, coaching the Under 19 and Under 21 teams. Luis de la Fuente also took charge of Spain at the delayed Tokyo Olympics so he has already worked with a large number of these players.
Luis de la Fuente’s first squad announcement sprung up a number of surprises, although few major shocks in truth, as 14 members of the unsuccessful World Cup squad were left out. Injuries and retirements were a factor in that too but the only uncapped players in this Spain squad are 29 year old David Garcia and 32 year old Joselu with both well worthy of a call-up given their form over a number of years in LaLiga.
The actual starting XI that takes to the field against Norway will be intriguing. There are question marks in just about every position. Unai Simon’s absence will create an opening, most likely for Kepa or David Raya in goal, while the likes of Iñigo Martínez and Dani Ceballos will sense an opportunity to break into this Spain team. Up front, there are a host of options with Iago Aspas back in the fold having been frozen out under Luis Enrique while Alvaro Morata has been named captain as the only player in the squad to have passed 40 caps.
This had the potential to be a very tricky first test for Luis de la Fuente but Erling Haaland’s withdrawal makes this a considerably simpler task for the Spanish defence. Norway still have former Real Madrid midfielder Martin Ødegaard who is capable of posing big questions while the only natural strikers left in the squad are both based in Spain – Celta Vigo’s Jørgen Strand Larsen and Real Sociedad’s Alexander Sørloth.
With Scotland, Georgia and Cyprus the other teams in this group and two teams advancing to Euro 2024, Norway will sense an opportunity to end their long wait for major tournament football which stretches back to Euro 2000 when they were knocked out at the group stage.
Score Prediction: Spain 2-0 Norway
Haaland’s absence is obviously a huge boost for Spain, not least as they look to start to build the foundations of a new central defensive pairing. Norway still have players capable of asking questions, most notably Ødegaard, but they may not be strong enough defensively to prevent Spain from scoring a couple of goals which ought to be enough to start a new era with a win.
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