Norway coach Even Pellerud is expected to restore his original lineup for Monday's UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-final against Spain, who relish their underdog status.
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Norway coach Even Pellerud is likely to revert to the lineup that played the first two games of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 – rather than keep faith with the players that impressively beat Germany 1-0 – when they take on Spain in the Kalmar quarter-final on Monday.
Pellerud made six changes for the Germany game with qualification assured, but said that was more to give players experience than to assess an alternative selection. Spain coach Ignacio Quereda, whose team have got past the group stage just as they did on their last finals appearance in 1997, warned Norway to beware the "underdogs".
Even Pellerud, Norway coach
The mood has been very good and relaxed, but still focused, since the Germany game and now more and more on the Spain match. It has been important for me to stress that the players must rest and gradually over the last two days the intensity and sharpness in terms of our game plan and tactics has increased.
The level of confidence is very high after three good performances. That's not going to be an issue; unless we are over confident, but I don't believe that will be the case. The good news is that all my players are fit.
It has given me a good dilemma [whether to keep the same team that started against Germany], but not one too difficult. It was more important in the long run in terms of developing a high number of young and medium age players to be able to compete on the next stage, such as the [FIFA Women's] World Cup qualification in September.
That was more in the back of my mind [when I selected my team to play Germany] than anything else. I tried to have the guts to look ahead and I believe that will pay off later on. It paid off here, too, so it was kind of a win-win situation.
Spain have shown a good level of progress and for a long time they have always had good, young teams – they are now benefitting from that in the senior side. They are confident and have some really good individuals and produce some good combination play up front. I saw their U17s [finish third] in Trinidad and Tobago at the World Cup in 2010 and they were an amazing team, so we have been waiting for them [to produce on this stage].
• Germany fell to their first UEFA Women's EURO loss for 17 years, or 20 counting only final tournaments, as Ingvild Isaksen picked a good time for her maiden international goal to clinch Group B top spot.
• On a booking: Marit Fiane Christensen, Gry Tofte Ims
Having rested severla key players against Germany, Pellerud is expected to return to the XI that started the opening games of the tournament.
Ignacio Quereda, Spain coach
We've been watching videos of our opponents and we have seen a number of virtues and characteristics that we have to take into account during the match against Norway.
Vero [Boquete] is a really good player, but she's just one of the team. She has proven experience in other leagues outside of Spain and that's a plus, but she one player more in the team.
It's an incentive for players to play at a full stadium. All the players are going to be at their best level against Norway.
Reaching the semi-finals would be a big achievement and the icing on the cake after the good start to the tournament that we had. Also, it would be the next phase of developing women's football in Spain.
The evaluation of the group stage is very positive. We were the underdogs in the group, and I already warned that these underdogs could do something important. In the end we were second, with a good number of points. We are very satisfied and it is a big achievement.
We will face the match with a lot of tension, with concentration and eagerness. The girls are very excited, knowing that they are ready and able to beat Norway.
Group stage results
England 2-3 Spain (Aluko 8, Bassett 89; Verónica Boquete 5, Hermoso 86, Putellas 90+3)
Spain 0-1 France (Renard 5)
Russia 1-1 Spain (Terekhova 44, Boquete 14)
Tirapu; Torrejón, Paredes, Ruth García, Ibarra; Vicky (Calderón 64), Meseguer, Putellas (Sonia 68), Adriana (Erika Vázquez 84); Hermoso, Boquete.
• Spain got the point they needed to progress as Group C runners-up while Russia fell on drawing of lots.
• On a booking: Nagore Calderón, Irene Paredes
Spain are at full strength.
The two countries have only crossed paths previously during qualifying for UEFA Women's EURO 2005, and Norway won 2-0 home and away.
Did you know?
Spain are hoping to reach the semi-finals just as they did on their only previous qualification in 1997.