Gavi’s goal was enough to secure victory for Spain in Norway meaning the Scandinavian side will not be able to finish in the top two of Group A.
Spain dominated the match throughout and were unfortunate when Alvaro Morata’s first-half goal was disallowed for a dubious offside.
Soon after the break Spain got the goal their play deserved when Gavi, after a goalmouth scramble, turned the ball home.
Again there was a lengthy stoppage to review the goal but on this occasion it was able to stand.
Norway were extremely disappointing, creating little in what was such a crucial game for them and they will now have to hope they get the chance to qualify through the Euro 2024 playoffs.
Spain go on top of the group, above Scotland on goal difference, with both assured of a place in Germany. Norway lie third, five points adrift with just one game left to play.
TALKING POINT – WHAT A WASTE OF TALENT
It seems incredulous that given Norway qualified for three major tournaments out of four from 1994, with two players who would have been by far the best in those sides, they again look like failing to qualify for a major championship. This would mean Erling Haaland not making a finals appearance until he turns 26 – eight years older than Kylian Mbappe was when he won a World Cup. Staale Solbakken made a swift exit on the final whistle and it seems unlikely he would survive not making the tournament in Germany. Not creating a system to get the most out of Martin Odegaard seems a dereliction of duty. The Arsenal skipper was a passenger for almost all the game until presented with a gilt-edged chance which he shot wide. The only Norwegian player who looked dangerous at all was 18-year-old substitute Antonio Nusa who showed the dare and adventure his older team-mates sadly lacked.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – RODRI (SPAIN)
Although Spain dominated the match and all their midfielders and forwards were better than their Norwegian counterparts, it does not feel a stretch to suggest if Rodri was on the other side it could have tipped the contest. He controls the tempo of games like no other player in world football and perennially gives defenders an option in possession and forwards a ball to recycle and allow his side to keep the pressure on the opposition. Over 100 passes at a success rate of 96% tells its own tale and he certainly doesn’t accumulate these statistics just making safe passes.
Norway: Nyland 6; Ryerson 6, Ostigard 6, Strandberg 6, Meling 6; Bobb 5, Berge 6, Berg 5, Aursnes 6; Odegaard 5; Haaland 6.
Subs: Nusa 7, Thorsvedt 6, Sorloth 6, Ajer 6.
Spain: Unai Simon 6; Carvajal 7, Le Normand 6, Laporte 7, Fran Garcia 7; Gavi 7, Rodri 8*, Fabian Ruiz 7; Ferran Torres 7, Morata 7, Ansu Fati 6.
Subs: Oyarzabal 6, Garcia 7, Pedraza 7, Sancet 6, Joselu 6.
20′ GOAL FOR SPAIN! What an error that was. Carvajal played a ball over the top which Strandberg dangled a leg at pushing it past his own ‘keeper and Morata tapped home from a yard out.
21′ REFEREE LOOKING AT SIDELINE SCREEN! There didn’t seem much wrong with it – but we know what this usually means…
22′ GOAL DISALLOWED! Wow. It has been disallowed for offside. When Carvajal played the ball Morata was offside but he did not effect Strandberg’s clearance surely?
49′ GOAL FOR SPAIN! Will it count? It was pinball in the area, with Ferran Torres’s strike being blocked by his own man en route to goal and then Oyarzabal having a shot blocked before Gavi shot iinto the net.
50′ GOAL BEING CHECKED….AGAIN! Was Morata offside initially? Was he interfering when Gavi’s shot went in? He certainly didn’t affect the Norway ‘keeper’s dive.
53′ GOAL STANDS! After the longest of checks, the goal is allowed to stand. It seems the right call in the end at least, but why did it last so long.
63′ GREAT CHANCE FOR ODEGAARD! The crowd can’t believe he didn’t bury it. Sorloth got behind the Spain defence on the right and then pulled back for the Arsenal skipper but he skewed his shot wide.