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The new Norwegian school

Haaland, Ødegaard and more: who are the new talents of the Scandinavian football

The new Norwegian school Haaland, Ødegaard and more: who are the new talents of the Scandinavian football

Norwegian football lives on moments. If you search on YouTube "Norwegian football", among the first results you got there are videos about the most excitant new talents from the Scandinavian nation or about the old golden generation which qualified for the round of 16 at France '98 World Cup (after beating Brazil at the group stage). Norway is a small State, so it's normal that there are generations luckier than others. However, by working on the youth sectors and concentrating on the development of talent, you can ease the emerging of new talents in short time periods. So, twenty years after the last time, Norway seems once again to be producing talents of good calibre. Haaland, Ødegaard, King, Berge, Ajer, Thorsby, Milan's newest acquisition Hauge and Sørloth are all guys who have the spotlight on in this moment, and they are the protagonists of the revival of the Scandinavian aesthetic. After Iceland's exploit at Euro 2016 and Russia 2018, the new Norway presents itself with an almost supernatural aura, with all these players looking like cyborgs came to Earth to make theirs the football.

There's just a little detail: this generation of players, in which everyone still has less than 25 years old (the "oldest one" is Alexander Sørloth, born in 1995 and who's travelling around Europe for five seasons and who seems has finally found his space at RB Leipzig), is already apparently better than that one of "their fathers", natural (like in the cases of Haaland and Sørloth) or metaphoric that they are. This guarantees to the Norwegian national team and to their talents spread through Europe a not indifferent charm. Europe discovered them at their very first occasion, and if Haaland and Ødegaard have already proved last year that they are players out of common, all the others have the chance of showing them in all their qualities starting from this season. In fact, apart from Ajer, who plays at Celtic with another Norwegian player like Elyounoussi (that we could see in action against Milan in the Europa League), all the others players cited before will have the chance of getting noticed on the pitches of the top five European championships, and some of them also in the Champions League. We just can say that the present, but especially the future, is on their hands.

The new Scandinavian tank seems to have been supplied of young talents who clearly had a lot of space to emerge in their league. The Norwegian championship is not among the first ones in Europe for prestige or economic resources, and because of this, the clubs prefer to not buy players from abroad to test the results of the various youth sectors. During the last ten years, the quality of Norwegian football didn't have a particular increase, but, this new wave of talents is to reconnect to a pair of factors. Of course, the good performances of the National team at France '98 has pushed lots of children to wanna play football between the end of the 90s and the first years of 2000. Moreover, the Norwegian Federation has chosen to capitalize on this trend promoting the "Football for All" motto, reducing the players on the pitches of the youth teams from eleven to seven. This increased the interest of all in football, no matter of the age, the gender of the provenance. In 2018, there were around 325.000 people playing football in the nation, making it one of the "richest" in football players related to the overall population of the State (around five millions of residents).

By the way, there's something else that is common in these new Scandinavian talents, and that is the aesthetic, as we said before. Looking at (almost all) these 20 years old guys and remaining impressed by their physiques, their icy eyes, their faces dug from the arctic cold, their skins clear like the snow and their platinum hair, trust me, isn't abnormal. They really look like they were made with the mould

According to what we can watch on Instagram, fashion is not so central in the interests of these guys - Joshua King is a very exception in comparison, as his hypebeast looks prove -, who often prefer to be photographed while they are wearing the tracksuits of their sponsors. What caught my eyes is the originality of the Instagram posts of one of these Norwegian. I'm talking about Erling Braut Haaland, who certainly has an out of ordinary use of the social networks and who also already has a personality, a defined status, also proven by the celebration he ideated for the (lots of) goals he scores. His pics express how much he is different from the others: we can watch him at boasting his speed on a dirt road, or occupied in chopped some wood or working the land on a tractor, as if these activities are common for a successful young footballer like him. Even if, confidentially, nothing beats the photo published last February 15, in which Haaland poses with the Bundesliga best player of the month award in one hand and the "Rookie of the Month" award in the other while wearing a t-shirt with an eloquent print: "The devil is jealous of me".  

In a football more and more full of very skilled guys with the ball at their feet, for once a slew of future champions are not churned out by the usual academies of central and southern Europe. Norway could soon assemble a strong team, following in the footsteps of what Belgium, another small and never relevant nation on the European football map, has done in the last decade. It's appropriate to say it: the Norway of football, today more than ever, has on a reckless hype, and it doesn't matter if last Thursday they lost the play-off with Serbia to access the final phase of Euro 2020 because the new Norwegian school will still have many opportunities to exalt themselves.