Tor Ole Skullerud will lead Norway to only their second Under-21 finals, following the third-placed finish they achieved in 1998. In their qualifying group, Norway totalled 16 points from eight games, only losing to section winners England in what were two tight games. Skullerud's team took on another European heavyweight in the play-offs, but France were shocked as, despite winning the first leg 1-0 at home, they crumbled in Norway where the hosts ran out 5-3 victors in a classic encounter.
That Norway's success has been mostly based on a team effort is shown in the top scorer list. Four players finished with two goals: Jo Inge Berget, Marcus Pedersen, Thomas Rogne and Harmeet Singh. Others have contributed in different ways, with Marcus Henriksen and Vegar Hedenstad offering valuable performances.
It is testament to the strength of this particular crop that many of the young stars have already made their bow at senior level, indeed the coach must do without Henriksen, Joshua King, Håvard Nordtveit and Valon Berisha for the opener against Israel on 5 June, as the quartet travel to Albania with the senior squad before joining up with the squad.
Three fellow finalists were taken on in preparatory friendlies, starting with a 2-1 win against Group B hopefuls Russia. However, a 5-2 loss in Spain, and 4-1 defeat in the Netherlands shows Norway will have their work cut out to lift the trophy.
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