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The immediate future is looking bleak for Portugal after their opening Euro 2012 qualifier. A 4-4 draw at home to Cyprus was only the latest blow in a period that has seen Simao announce his international retirement, Cristiano Ronaldo suffer an ankle injury and, of course, coach Carlos Queiroz suspended for six months as a result of his interference in an anti-doping test ahead of the World Cup.
Stadium: Ullevaal Stadium
Match Time: September 7, 2010, 18:30 GMT
Team Stat Comparison
Matches Played 1 1
Table Position 1 3
Points 3 1
Goal Difference 1 0
Goals for * 0.0 0.0
Goals against * 0.0 0.0
Last 5 W D
Last 5 home D
Last 5 away W
* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club
"I admit there was a lack of competence in a defence that is usually competent," Portugal's temporary coach Agostinho Oliveira, who had worked as assistant to Queiroz, said after the Cyprus match. "It's not easy explaining this. This defence is solid. We had two men in front of the centre backs and this result is hard for me to swallow."
An opening match at home to a team ranked 63rd in the world by FIFA should have allowed them to get the loss of so many key figures out of their system before taking on bigger tests, but the pressure will now be bigger than ever. Worse still, defender Fabio Coentrao will miss their game at Norway with a thigh injury.
Norway finished a very distant second to Netherlands in their qualification group for the World Cup and have not taken part in a major tournament since 2000, but they came from behind to beat Iceland 2-1 away in their opening qualifier on Friday and there is enough quality in their ranks to make them outsiders to reach Euro 2012.
With Denmark also expected to seriously challenge for top spot in the group, both sides will feel a defeat here would mark a very serious blow to their hopes of qualification.
Norway player to watch: Erik Huseklepp
The 25-year-old Brann striker scored twice in Norway's 2-1 friendly victory over a second-string France side last month, and his corner set up Brede Hangeland for Norway's equaliser against Iceland. Technically gifted and with a bit of pace, Huseklepp is also capable of playing as a winger and can be difficult to contain.
Portugal player to watch: Nani
Having missed out on a place at the World Cup through injury, Nani will be determined to seize his chance here. He supplied an assist and forced a couple of decent saves against Cyrpus and, while he is a long, long way away from such status yet, he does appear to be slowly growing into his long-held billing as the 'new Cristiano Ronaldo'.
Key battle: Brede Hangeland v Hugo Almeida
With Portugal expected to play a lone striker flanked by Nani and Ricardo Quaresma, it will be important that the forward is well marshalled. Hangeland is hugely dominant in the air, but he is likely to face a tough test against the 6'3" Almeida, whose aerial prowess is matched by good technique. Physically it will be an interesting battle and set-pieces are likely to be very important for the pair.
Trivia: Erik Huseklepp's father, Ingvald, played for the same team - Brann - in the 70s.
Stats: Both Norway and Portugal have lost only one of their last ten games, Norway losing a friendly to Ukraine 1-0 in June while Portugal went down to eventual World Cup winners Spain by the same scoreline in South Africa.
Odds: Norway (3.20), Belarus (3.25) and the draw (2.10) are all available at Bet 365, while Norway to win it 1-0 comes in at 8.00.
Prediction: Portugal have been much stronger over recent years but, given the current malaise around the team, Norway may very well take advantage. A home win would be no surprise.