clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Odegaard Among Top Performer’s in Draw vs Record-Setting Sergio Ramos and Spain

The points were shared in Oslo after a 92nd minute penalty kick for Norway

Norway v Spain -EURO Qualifier Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

On a night that was meant to be about record-setting Sergio Ramos, Norway stole the headlines in frigid Oslo. Ramos, who has now amassed 168 caps for Spain, has overtaken fellow Real Madrid and Spain legend, Iker Casillas, as the player with the most games played for the Spanish National team. The captain started at center back with Real Madrid loanee, Dani Ceballos, joining him in the starting eleven. Ceballos played on the left wing, but had total freedom to roam as he pleased. Juan Bernat of PSG was given the nod ahead of Sergio Reguilon at left back, while 33-year-old Jesus Navas still has the edge over Dani Carvajal at right back. On the opposite side of the field, Norway set up in a 4-4-2, with Odeegard playing alongside Josh King as a second striker.

In the opening minutes of the match, Norway defended with a block of eight and sat deep, waiting to press Spain until they were within the final 30-35 yards from their goal. Once they won the ball, the plan was to find Odegaard playing as the 10, who would feed the pacey Josh King on the counter. Though, within those opening ten minutes, Norway struggled to string more than two consecutive passes together. Odegaard was isolated, even at moments when he would choose to press and be aggressive, his team wouldn’t follow.

If the match were to be broken into quarters, Spain controlled the opening 25 minutes. The Spanish were set-up with Mikel Oyarzabal as the number 9 and had a more traditional striker, Rodrigo, on the right wing, while Ceballos was floating as an inverted left winger. We have seen Ceballos thrive in this role before with Spain, one that Isco often operates in with the national team and to great effect, but he had very little influence on the match. It’s still unclear whether Ceballos and Oyarzabal in the same attacking trident compliment each other, one would think that Spain need more verticality and some direct runners to stretch an oppositions backline.

As the match wore on and entered the second and third quarters, Norway became much more dangerous and was able to develop some many good moments just outside of Spain’s box. By the end of the half Odeegard had managed to be more involved than Fabian or Ceballos. Though, just a mere minute into the 2nd half, Norway would have a mental lapse and allowed Spain to break the deadlock with an incredible goal from Saul just outside the box.

The goal didn’t break Norway, instead they started pressing higher up the pitch and advanced their lines. Odegaard in particular provided dangerous through balls and whipped in more than one corner kick which caused the Spanish defense a lot of trouble. Given his advanced position, Odegaard found himself pressing Sergio Ramos and there were more than a few duels. One such duel saw Odegaard receive the ball and turn Ramos resulting in a foul where the Andalusian was lucky not get a card, clearly looking to prevent Odegod from breaking through on the counter.

As for the other Andalusian, Ceballos, he was yanked off around the hour mark for Santi Cazorla. He wasn’t especially poor, but just failed to create anything of substance despite the free role he was given. Nearly every time Ceballos got the ball, he was looking to switch the field and release Jesus Navas on the opposite flank. Robert Moreno clearly wanted more from his playmaker and Ceballos himself has higher standards.

Norway continued to pile on the pressure as the match entered the final 15 minutes. Odegaard was able to capitalize on a lot of errors from Spain, particularly misplaced passes from Busquets and Ramos. Josh King was put through 1 on 1 after Odegaard pounced on a loose Ramos pass but the striker couldn’t convert. In the last ten minutes, Ødegaard was everywhere trying to create that last opportunity for Norway, who were desperate for a point. Their efforts would be rewarded in the 92nd minute after a skirmish in the box where Josh King missed an open net, but Kepa had missed a cross and punched a Norwegian player resulting in a yellow carded and foul in the box. The last minute penalty was converted by Josh King and the points would be shared. Odegaard was the best performer of the three Real Madrid players on show and Norway still have a chance to qualify for Euro 2020.

Player Ratings:

Martin Odeegard — 7.5

Sergio Ramos — 5.5

Dani Ceballos — 5.5

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid