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Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 16:30 UK

Norway coach vows to attack Scots

By Christian Wulff

Norway coach Egil Olsen
Olsen took temporary charge of Norway again in January

Egil Olsen has promised an attacking approach against Scotland on 12 August in Oslo as he tries to salvage Norway's World Cup qualification hopes.

Norway, who sit bottom of Group Nine, need a victory to revive their hopes of a play-off place.

"I think Scotland would be satisfied with a draw, but that's not an option for us," said Norway coach Olsen.

"It will be crucial for us to challenge them down the wings and the full-backs I selected are a reflection of that."

Young, offensive full-backs, such as Viking Stavanger's Trond Erik Bertelsen, Tromsø's Tom Høgli and Espen Ruud from Odd Grenland, have been included in Olsen's squad along with the experienced John Arne Riise.

It means that Christian Kalvenes has again been overlooked, despite the former Dundee United left-back being poised for a season in the Barclays Premier League after helping Burnley win promotion.

Even winning their three remaining games would not guarantee Norway a place among the eight teams in the play-offs in what has been dubbed as "mission impossible" in Olsen's homeland.

I expect Scotland to be very well organised defensively, keeping plenty of players behind the ball at all time

Norway coach Egil Olsen

"The fact that we have to win this game has influenced both the selection of the squad and the way we will approach the match tactically," said Olsen, who is facing his first home qualifier in his second spell as national coach.

"I expect Scotland to be very well organised defensively, keeping plenty of players behind the ball at all time."

Olsen took charge on a temporary basis while a successor is found for Åge Hareide, who stepped down in December.

However, there were no surprise inclusions in the returning coach's squad, which includes Bjørn Helge Riise, the brother of John Arne and the newest player in the Premier League, having signed for Fulham from Lillestrøm this summer.

The defence will again be marshalled by centre-half Brede Hangeland, who after a great season with Fulham has been linked to both Manchester City and Arsenal during the summer transfer window.

Veteran goalkeeper Jon Knudsen, who received his debut in the away leg against Scotland in October, is set to keep his place.

Norway's two other high-profile Premier League players, John Carew and Morten Gamst Pedersen, are likely to lead the attack against the Scots.

Pedersen's performance will be closely followed after he made rude gestures to the large section of supporters who booed him during the last home game against Finland in April.

Norwegian fans have for a long time been largely unimpressed by the way its most famous players have performed on the international stage, with particular ire directed towards Pedersen.

He is almost certain to start on the left side of the attack, with the current form player in the Norwegian league, Erik Huseklepp, in contention for the right-sided position, and Carew spearheading the expected 4-5-1 formation.

While Norway's perceived advantage of playing Scotland in the middle of their domestic season has been much discussed, half of their starting line-up is likely to consist of players who have just finished pre-season training with their foreign clubs.

Scotland, who presenlty lie second in the group, will also take comfort that they have only once lost in Norway.

That was in 1963, while the Scots won their most recent encounter in Oslo four years ago, with Kenny Miller scoring both goals.

Norway squad

Goalkeepers: Jon Knudsen (Stabæk), Rune Jarstein (Rosenborg)
Defenders: Trond Erik Bertelsen (Viking), Brede Hangeland (Fulham), Tom Høgli (Tromsø), Tore Reginiussen (Tromsø), John Arne Riise (AS Roma), Espen Ruud (Odd Grenland), Kjetil Wæhler (Aalborg)
Midfielders: Simen Brenne (Odd Grenland), Christian Grindheim (Heerenveen), Henning Hauger (Stabæk), Bjørn Helge Riise (Fulham), Per Ciljan Skjelbred (Rosenborg), Fredrik Winsnes (Strømsgodset)
Forwards: Steffen Iversen (Rosenborg), Morten Gamst Pedersen (Blackburn), Thorstein Helstad (Le Mans), Erik Huseklepp (Brann), John Carew (Aston Villa), Daniel Braathen (Toulouse)

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see also
Hutton targets Norway encounter
25 Jul 09 |  Internationals
Iwelumo blow for Scots and Wolves
20 Jul 09 |  Internationals
Gordon ruled out of Norway match
01 Aug 09 |  Sunderland

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