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Added September 6th, 2010 by Ian

Portugal aims to tighten up in Euro 2012 qualifier with Norway

Portugal will be will looking to tighten up defensively when they take on Norway in Oslo on Sept. 7 in a Group H match for Euro 2012 qualifying. The Portuguese were involved a wild 4-4 draw against Cyprus at home on Sept. 3. Both teams led twice in that game and Cyprus scored a late equalizer with a couple of minutes to go. They’ll be happy scoring four more goals, but definitely can’t afford to let the same amount in again.

Portugal hasn’t lost to Norway in their last eight meetings (six wins and two draws), but will have to cut down on costly errors if they want to run that streak to nine games.

Norway manager Egil Olsen’s side opened up their qualifying campaign with a 2-1 victory in Iceland on Sept. 3 with goals by Brede Hangeland and Mohammed Abdellaoue. Striker John Carew sat out that game due to a knee injury, but is expected to be ready to play against the Portuguese.

Olsen said his team will need to player better in the match against Portugal than they did during the first half in Iceland. They will be relying on Fulham’s Hangeland to lead the squad again with some help from Morten Gamst Pedersen of Blackburn Rovers. If Aston Villa’s Carew is unable to play, Abdellaoue will need to play well again and another option up front is Steffen Iversen of Rosenborg BK.

Portugal is still without star player Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Carlos Queiroz is serving a six-month suspension for interfering in a World Cup drug test. Defender Fabio Coentrao is out with a thigh injury. Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho said Cyprus were able to score a goal every time his team made a mistake and assistant coach Agostinho Oliveira stated the team needs to turn things around quickly if they’re to succeed in Norway.

With Ronaldo out Portugal will be looking for some firepower from forwards Danny, Ricardo Quaresma, Nani, Hugo Almeida, and Brazilian-born Liedson.

Norway hasn’t had much luck against the Portuguese over the years and the two draws came in friendlies back in 1993 and 94. The last time they met was in 2003 with Portugal winning another friendly, this time 1-0.

This is a good test for both teams. Look for Portugal to shore up defensively while Norway should try to attack to take advantage of any possible confidence problems the Portuguese may be suffering from the Cyprus game. This one could very well end up in another draw.

Sportsbook William Hill has the odds of a Portugal win listed at 5/4 with a Norway victory at 11/5 and the odds of a draw at 23/10.

 
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