Norway Under-21 boss Tor Ole Skullerud is eyeing an upset when his team take on Spain in their European Under-21 Championship semi-final.
Skullerud admits the Spanish are ‘big favourites’ to win Saturday’s game in Netanya but is hoping his players can make ‘another jump forward’ and cause an upset.
”We have made several breakthroughs that have given us confidence and helped us build a strong squad. I feel very strongly that if we are to make another big jump it has to be tomorrow,” he told a Press conference.
“Spain are big favourites going into this game. They have played three good games so far but we have studied them and are going to try to have a good game plan. We can be the big surprise of the tournament, maybe we already are.
“I have lots of good players and we have a fantastic mentality but you don't get much better than Spain – they're probably one of the best teams in the world at this level. “It's a fantastic opportunity for us to see what we can do against the best.”
The Scandinavians needed a late Harmeet Singh equaliser to snatch a point off hosts Israel in the opening game, then moved to within a point of qualification with victory against England in Petah Tikva.
A draw against Italy in their final Group A game was enough to seal only Norway’s second Under-21 semi-final appearance, and Skullerud wants to make the most of it.
“We don't just want to defend but also to attack and give them as much trouble as we can with our own play. We’ll try to interrupt their passing and movement, their rhythm. If we let them play all the time and can't get in tackles and win the ball then we're going to struggle.
“I am sure Spain will have more of the ball, but our problem will be if we let them come too far up the pitch, let them play through us with lots of movement in the last third.
“It's not a problem to have less possession but we need to cause them trouble as well. Against England we were clinical, we did well on the counter-attack but I want to keep the ball better than we did against them,” he concluded.