In an interview, Spain’s custodian Unai Simon emphasised the significance of preventing Norway striker Erling Haaland from getting near their net during Sunday’s crucial Euro 2024 qualifying match.
With a victory in Oslo, La Roja will have secured their spot in the next summer’s tournament in Germany; however, Haaland and Norway remain in their way and are desperately chasing victory to give themselves a chance of progressing.
Despite suffering an injury during Spain’s 3-0 victory over Norway in March, the Manchester City forward Haaland scored twice on Thursday to keep his country’s hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2024 tournament alive.
In the event that Norway does not win their game, the leaders of Group A, Scotland, will advance to the next round, and Spain will have the opportunity to secure their spot in the tournament with a win in either of their final two matches.
“We see how decisive (Haaland) is in the box in every game,” Simon said during a news conference on Saturday.
Because he was created to score goals, anything that Haaland touches within the box has the potential to become a goal, regardless of whether it’s an aerial ball, a low ball, his left foot, or his right foot.
“We’ll try to keep him as far from the box as possible, as far from our goal, and when he’s in our area, make sure he doesn’t touch the ball — he’s got an out-of-the-ordinary probability of scoring.”
After moving to Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund the previous year, Haaland was a force to be reckoned with in the English Premier League. He broke the all-time record for most goals scored in a single season in the Premier League with 36 goals.
The striker, who is only 23 years old, has played for the Norway national team 27 times and has scored 27 goals for his country.
When asked about Haaland, Spain’s head coach Luis de la Fuente responded that his team would maintain vigilance to thwart not only the forward but also the various dangers posed by Norway.
“We will try to be at our best, to go out there with total concentration to contain the opponent’s attacks,” according to the instructor.
“(Haaland) is a specialist in dynamic attacking but I’m very happy with the work of our centre-backs, we’ll try to counter these characteristics — not just of Haaland but other dangerous players.”
Martin Odegaard, a playmaker for Norway, stated earlier on Saturday that he believed Haaland to be the best footballer in the world, but he also highlighted the fact that his side has other assets.
“It’s true that Haaland is the best in the world, but there are more (players),” remarked Odegaard, who plays midfield for Arsenal.
“We know what Haaland is, but everyone has a lot to offer — we play as a team.”