Next summer’s European Championship could be without the most fearsome scorer in global soccer.
Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, who set a new record for goals in England’s Premier League last season and lead Manchester to its first UEFA Champions League title, couldn’t prevent his national team from losing to Spain 1-0 on Sunday in Oslo in a match it had to win to stay in contention to qualify for an automatic spot at Euro 2024. Norway must now hope to claim one of the three available playoff spots — a feat that is far from a forgone conclusion.
La Roja’s win qualified the three-time European champions for the monthlong, 24-team quadrennial event that Germany will host in 10 cites from mid-June to mid-July. Sunday’s result in Norway’s capital also ensured that Scotland will advance to the main event for the second consecutive tournament.
Norway, the Nordic country of around 5.5 million people, has competed in the Euros just once, way back in 2000, when it was eliminated before the knockout round. The Lions have participated in three FIFA World Cups, their best showing a round of 16 appearance in France in 1998.
The 23-year-old Haaland scored 36 goals in 35 Premier League games in 2022-23, shattering the decades-old mark set by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer. He has 28 goals in 27 international caps since making his debut for Norway in 2019.
Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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