The Norwegian team has been left without Erling Haaland, its greatest threat, just four days before its qualifying match for the 2024 Euro Cup this Saturday against Spain at La Rosaleda (20.45, La1). The striker had joined the training camp in Marbella with groin discomfort after Manchester City’s last game, on Saturday against Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Norwegian doctors performed several tests on him on Monday, and this Tuesday they announced that he was not fit to play: “We expected him to just be a nuisance that would happen on Saturday, but after having tested him yesterday it became clear that he will not be there for the matches against Spain and Georgia. The best thing is for him to continue treatment at his club, ”explained the Norwegian team doctor, Ola Sand, in a statement.
The resounding striker was in the midst of a devastating run at City, which he kept in a delicate balance with his muscular health. Before joining the Norwegian expedition for the two qualifying matches of this break, he had scored eight goals in five days: five against RB Leipzig in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 and three against Burnely. In both cases, Pep Guardiola removed him from the field in the 62nd minute. After the five against Leipzig, Haaland was between happy and slightly upset: “When I came out, I told Guardiola that I would have loved to score a double hat trick”, he counted.
The City coach approached the matter with a point of humour: “If you achieve this at 22 or 23, your life will be boring. I would not have a goal to achieve in the future. Here and anywhere. That’s why I made the change.” That happened on Tuesday. On Saturday, against Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-finals, when Haaland had completed a hat trickGuardiola replaced him again in the 62nd minute. By then, he was already suffering from this discomfort in his groin, which both he and the Norwegian team doctors considered minor.
Coach Stale Solbakken described the footballer’s disappointment: “Erling took it hard when he realized he couldn’t play for the team,” he said. “Fortunately, there is still a lot of confidence, talent and unity in the group to score points in the next matches.” After facing Spain on Saturday in Malaga, Norway travels to Batumi to play Georgia on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., in what are the first two qualifying matches for next year’s Euro Cup in Germany.
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