Norwegian date for Socceroos
Sydney: Australia will continue their preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia with an international friendly against Norway in Oslo in March.
The match against Lars Lagerbäck’s side will be played at the 28,000-capacity Ullevaal Stadion on March 23, and will represent the third meeting between Australia and Norway at senior men’s international level.
The Socceroos first played Norway in Sydney in January 1997, a game Australia won 1-0 thanks to Robbie Hooker’s 72nd minute strike.
Australia also met Norway in London in November 2004, a year prior to the team’s successful qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2006 Germany. Goals to Tim Cahill and Josip Skoko ensured Australia departed Craven Cottage with a 2-2 draw to their credit.
The Socceroos’ match against Norway in Oslo will be the first of two friendlies that Australia will play in March’s FIFA window. Football Federation Australia (FFA) is close to finalising the second international friendly, and will announce further match details soon.
FFA Chief Executive Officer, David Gallop, believes that playing Norway in Norway, followed by another strong opponent elsewhere in Europe, will provide the Australia’s soon to be appointed head coach with a strong platform to commence their tenure.
“We are excited to have secured this international friendly match against Norway and would like to thank the Norwegian Football Association for the opportunity to play in Oslo,” said Gallop. “Norway are especially strong on home soil and last year managed wins over Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan, as well as 1-1 draws with both Czech Republic and Sweden in Oslo.”
“For the March window we identified the need to play friendlies in Europe where the bulk of our players are based to minimise the travel demand on the players selected, as well as their clubs. Throughout the qualification process our players had a heavy travel and match schedule, so playing in Europe will lighten their loads leading up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”
“We’re sure that our match schedule in March will provide our new head coach with a great chance to test the squad against quality opponents,” concluded Gallop.