(Football news) Luis De La Fuente is set to manage his first match as Spain head coach on Saturday as La Roja take on Norway in their opening Euro 2024 qualification match. Spain have redemption on their mind since losing on penalties to Morocco in the last-16 of the 2022 World Cup, while Norway’s last friendly was in November 2022, playing out a 1-1 draw with Finland. Spain have entered a new era under De la Fuente as he has replaced Luis Enrique who left after their disappointment of the 2022 World Cup.
Spain reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020, as many fans fancied them as a dark horse for Qatar 2022, but they were eventually beaten by Morocco on penalties in the round of 16. The national side has struggled to impress in the World Cup since winning the competition in 2010 as Spain is now focused on securing qualification for Euro 2024, and they have been drawn in difficult Group A alongside Cyprus, Georgia, Norway and Scotland.
It would be a shock if La Roja did not qualify as De la Fuente has made a lot of changes to the squad, with the 61-year-old calling up players from Spain Under-19, Under-21 and Under-23 level. Spain will soon turn their attention to the UEFA Nations League where they facie Italy in the semi-finals of the competition.
Norway, on the other hand, have failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup as they have not actually been in a major competition since 1998. Norway haven’t qualified for the Euros ever since missing from the finals of a European Championship in 2000, which is an indication of the task facing head coach Stale Solbakken. Norway last played two friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Finland as they won one game and drew the other
Solbakken’s team feels that their squad is strong enough to claim a top-two position in Group A and the national team will look to players like Martin Odegaard and Erling Braut Haaland for inspiration. Haaland has been forced to withdraw from the latest squad due to a groin injury as Norway have only won one and lost five of their previous eight matches against Spain, but the last time they met it was a 1-1 draw
Spain possible starting lineup:
Raya; Carvajal, Laporte, I Martinez, Balde; Gavi, Rodri, Ceballos; Oyarzabal, Morata, Olmo
Norway possible starting lineup:
Nyland; Pedersen, Strandberg, Ostigard, Meling; Odegaard, Berg, Berge; Daehli, Sorloth, Elyounoussi