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Norway's Skullerud wants one final push

Published: Monday 10 June 2013, 20.45CET
Tor Ole Skullerud wants "one more maximum effort" from Norway not only to confirm their semi-final spot but to "win the group" at the expense of Devis Mangia's Italy.
by Josh Hershman
from Bloomfield Stadium
Norway's Skullerud wants one final push
Norway coach Tor Ole Skullerud is determind to beat Italy and top Group A ©Sportsfile

Tournament statistics


Goals scored6
Attempts on target12
Attempts off target21
Fouls committed57
Yellow cards5
Red Cards1

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Published: Monday 10 June 2013, 20.45CET

Norway's Skullerud wants one final push

Tor Ole Skullerud wants "one more maximum effort" from Norway not only to confirm their semi-final spot but to "win the group" at the expense of Devis Mangia's Italy.

Norway coach Tor Ole Skullerud has called on his side to produce "one more maximum effort" to not only seal their semi-final berth but to win their final Group A game and top the section at Italy's expense.

Skullerud's team need only a point to make absolutely sure of progress after moving three points clear of third-placed Israel with a 3-1 victory against England last time out. Norway can afford to lose unless Israel beat England and enjoy at least a six-goal swing in their favour, but Skullerud is certain that with their "self-belief", they will not need to rely on results elsewhere. Meanwhile, Italy coach Devis Mangia is "not surprised" by their opponents' performance but insists his team have done their homework and will be ready.

Tor Ole Skullerud, Norway coach
When it comes to picking the team, we have to take into account that we've played two hard games in strong heat. The mood in the squad is fantastic. Our group mentality has been strong all the way and having had players come down from the senior team has given us more energy. They have been well accepted into the group as we were sure they would be. We're optimistic.

We had a very strong test against England and Italy beat England 1-0 so that says it all. We've studied them and they are a fantastic team. We will be humble when we go into the game but we have a lot of self-belief. We think we can pull off a good result again, but it will take one more maximum effort from us to get something out of this game, as was the case against England.

We won't give anything away regarding the starting XI. We will have a good team and I will have a strong belief in the team I send out to beat Italy. We want to win the group and we will try our best to, that's how I will think when I pick the team. I want to finish first. I want to beat Italy and I want to win the group. That's our goal. It will be very hard and that's what I'm trying to get into the players in terms of how we approach the game.

We have to dig deep. There's not one part of our game that is better than theirs but we have a strong mentality and that's a key part of what we're doing. The four players coming from the senior side will give us more energy, fresh legs and alternatives which can only be a good thing. [Joshua King and Valon Berisha] are two fantastic players with a lot of skill. It's a luxury to have these players to choose from. There is a lot of competition for places in midfield but that is something I like.

We had one main target when we came here and that was to try and reach the semi-finals but when you reach that stage it's obvious that we want to go further as well. Of course, for us as an underdog we feel that going through is an achievement but I can assure you that if we get through we will go all out to go the whole way.

Matchday one result
Israel 2-2 Norway (Biton 16pen, Turgeman 71; Pedersen 24, Singh 90+1)

Matchday two result
England 1-3 Norway (Dawson 57pen; Semb Berge 15, Berget 34, Eikrem 52)
Nyland Haskjold; Elabdellaoui, Rogne (Nordtveit 83), Semb Berge (Linnes 57), Strandberg; Singh, Johansen, Eikrem (Ibrahim 68); Berget, Pedersen, Nielsen.

• Man of the match: Stefan Strandberg

Team news
There was good news on the injury front for Norway as Fredrik Semb Berge, who came off with a knock against England, is fit to face Italy. Vegar Hedenstad returns from suspension and Skullerud has a full group to choose from, including the four late arrivals from the senior squad. "We are fit and ready with all our players," he said. "We have a fantastic medical team who get the lads ready for each game."

Devis Mangia, Italy coach
We highly respect the mentality of going on the pitch to win because this is the right mentality. However, we can't forget that there is another team that has the possibility to qualify besides Italy and Norway.

I am not surprised at how well Norway have played. At the draw I said that one of the two big teams, either England or Italy, would go out in the first round. Norway have always been one of the strongest teams in my mind. Yesterday we watched the video of how they played against England and there were some interesting aspects that we hope we've analysed well. We've studied the details and will be ready.

We have to respect Norway, they are a good team and they have a big advantage over the other teams because they are playing their domestic season. We will field the best team for this match. A coach has to choose the player from a physical and mental point of view, the players that are best suited for the game. Regardless of the name of the player, we always wear the same shirt. We must remember that it's an honour to wear Italy's shirt.

Matchday one result
England 0-1 Italy (Insigne 79)

Matchday two result
Italy 4-0 Israel (Saponara 18, Gabbiadini 42 53, Florenzi 71)
Bardi; Donati, Bianchetti, Caldirola, Biraghi; Saponara, Florenzi, Verratti, Insigne; Immobile, Gabbiadini

• Man of the match: Marco Verratti

Team news
Lorenzo Insigne will not be involved against Norway because of the sprained ankle that forced him off against Israel. However, Mangia hopes to have him available for the semi-finals. Mangia also confirmed that Alberto Paloschi, yet to make an appearance in the tournament, will start.

Match fact
The countries have met in four competitive U21 games to date – all in qualifying – and recorded two wins apiece.

Did you know?
Norway striker Jo Inge Berget joined Udinese Calcio from Lyn Fotball in 2008, but did not make a first-team appearance for the Italian side.

Last updated: 11/06/13 10.40CET