It’s safe to say that Norway had a disappointing Euro 2022. Beforehand they were considered somewhat of the dark horses, as Scandinavian outfits do have a legacy in women’s football, but nothing of the sort in reality. They didn’t make it out of the group. In this match report, we look at their 1-0 loss against Austria and focus on the younger plays that did feature for the Norwegian side.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Norway
- Age: 20
- Date of Birth: 27/08/2001
- Current Club: Manchester City
- Career: Ottestad, Fart, Rosenborg, Manchester City
- Position: left back
Norway played in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Austria in which Blakstad played as the left full back. She is an attacking-minded defender so it is expected she will make runs down the line and interact with wide midfielder Guro Reiten.
Julia Blakstad is a proactive defender who likes to get ahead of the situation rather than react to a difficult situation. This doesn’t mean she is bad at tackling, on the contrary, she prefers proactive defensive actions. In this game, she tried to intercept passes, block passing lanes and make sure her pressing was sufficient to stop the right side of Austria. She isn’t the most physical presence but uses her body well in ground duels and aerial duels, although those are definitely not her strong point in defensive areas. She was vulnerable in the counter-attack as she was caught off position and left vital space behind.
Her qualities lie mostly on the ball. She has an excellent first touch, good attacking passing, and possesses a decent control of the ball. This can also be seen in the way she carries the ball from her own defensive third into the middle third, but also in the way she loves to dribble. She can confront her opponent in a 1v1 situation and win, but she is also isn’t afraid to make a run down the line using her agility and pace – to get in the ideal situations to give a cross. Her ball striking technique is good and has a good command of delivering crosses from the wide areas into the box, but due to the previous results in the tournament – it looked like she missed confidence to do so and was quite timid in these attacking actions.
Date of Birth: 16/07/1999
Current Club: Arsenal
Career: Lyn, Stabæk, Linköping, Arsenal
Position: Defensive midfielder
Norway played in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Austria in which Maanum played in the double-pivot in defensive midfield. She formed this double-pivot with Ingrid Engen and Maanum played on the right side, meaning she would also come in the combination play with right wide midfielder Amalie Eikeland a lot.
Frida Maanum is a disciplined defensive midfielder who possessed the quality in the defensive aspect of the game, but also in the attacking phases of the game. She can spot danger early on and can engage with interceptions, blocking passing lanes or tackles. She is strong in the aerial duels, as well as in the ground duels – but she could be better in her defensive awareness and positioning. This would give her more time and space, instead of being overhasty on the ball – leading to more errors in defensive midfield. In her role in the double-pivot she is quite dependent on her partner, and when she isn’t playing well – it affects her play.
On the ball, she is more of a progressor. She acts like the connector between the defensive backline and the attacking midfielder and does this via progressive passing or via progressive carries – allowing the attacking players to receive the ball in more advanced areas. She is great with the ball on her feet, can play the through ball as well as a diagonal pass, and has a great shot which she likes to use when she comes in the attacking third. Her greatest asset is that she spots runners and attacking players in more advanced positions.
Date of Birth: 29/04/1998
Current Club: Barcelona
Career: Trondheims-Ørn, LSK Kvinner, VfL Wolfsburg, LSK Kvinner (L) , VfL Wolfsburg, Barcelona
Position: Defensive midfielder
Norway played in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Austria in which Maanum played in the double-pivot in defensive midfield. She formed this double-pivot with Frida Maanum and Engen played on the left side, meaning she would also come in the combination play with left wide midfielder Guro Reiten a lot as well as Graham Hansen.
Off the ball, she makes a lot of meters and covers a lot of ground. She will drop down in between the lines to receive the ball and isn’t afraid to press the opponent. Her vision and defensive awareness should be better for someone in her position, as her execution of pressing or engaging in defensive activities was off this game. Her efforts in aerial duels and ground duels were okay, but not outstanding as she did lose the ball quite easily from time to time. This is a worry when she wasn’t under any form of pressure that would indicate or warrant such an error.
On the ball, she has two sides. Her first touch isn’t good and it bounces of her feet a lot, giving the opponent the chance to regroup or take over possession. She also loves to come into areas higher up the pitch with her dribbling, but her qualities don’t lie in carrying the ball, and losing the ball high up the pitch will lead to dangerous counter-attacks and Maanum had to cover a lot of ground for her in defence. But, on the passing side of the game, she is excellent. She collects the ball from her defenders and looks forward to seeing who is available. Her passing range is very good and she can play it long or short, without any loss of pace or quality. Engen plays many passes and is that vital link with her passing between defence and attack.