With the next found of Euro 2016 qualifiers just around the corner will the Norwegian sporting prevalence of winter come to an end?
Whilst the vast majority of us in the northern hemisphere look forward to the end of winter and the arrival of spring with all the optimism of an 80s soft rock fan weighing up their chances of winning Toto bassist Mike Porcaro’s instrument now he’s sadly passed away, there are, of course, some for whom winter is entirely preferable. Sometimes this is mere personal taste in ambient temperatures and weather conditions, but sometimes it’s just about showing off.
Can Norway Beat Croatia?
• Euro 2016 qualifiers
• Odds are with the Croatians
• Norwegians better on skis
The Nordic Ski World Championships in Falun were dominated by people for whom winter is not the uncomfortable, cold, wet, gray and miserable season I so often see from my window, but a glistening, crisp opportunity to indulge in the sports they love in ideal conditions and picturesque locations. Perhaps a little unfortunately most of these seem to come from one nation, and that’s started to lead some to question how interested the rest of the world is going to be next time round.
Winter sports already have quite a niche following, you’d have to be quite strange to start gambling news of the ski-jump finalists was followed very closely by those in Riyadh, Ouagadougou, or Havana, but this looks set to become even more select a fanbase if sponsors and TV coverage planners grow wary of putting money into a sport that is dominated so heavily by a single nation with a population that people in marketing would term “small scale”.
Norway Winning Could Be A Loss
The spiral of decline that winter sports, especially the Nordic variety, could well see in light of this Norwegian superiority, with ever more sponsors going to Norway rather than it’s competitors, leaving them at a disadvantage in terms of fiscal backing, facilities and resources, is now a serious concern for the movers and shakers behind the scenes. No sport likes to see such massive dominance, it’s bad for business – just ask Bernie Ecclestone about Mercedes.
Of course for those of you who like to bet on sports in Norway it’s a boon, you can back your fellow countrymen and pretty much be guaranteed that they’ll win 50% of the time, although the odds will rarely reflect such a diversity of possibility, but thankfully, for the rest of us, winter always ends and then suddenly Norway’s advantages are stripped from them and they have to battle it out with the rest of us on the field of play under far more equitable circumstance.
Norway take on Croatia in group H of the Euro 2016 qualifiers next and the football pitch has differed slightly from the ski jump or cross-country skiing courses, in terms of Norwegian success, in that they’ve only ever qualified once before for the UEFA cup finals (going out in the group stage in 2000) and just three times for the World Cup (1938, 94 & 98) which, frankly, isn’t the best of records for a European nation.
Don’t Cry For Croatia
Croatia, who only emerged from the rubble of Yugoslavia as a national side in the mid-nineties, have done far better than one might expect from a nation of four and a half million people, reaching the group stage twice and the quarter finals on another two occasions and only failed to qualify once for the UEFA finals, and indeed whilst they couldn’t enter the world cup in 1994, in 1998 they came third, and apart from 2010 when they failed to qualify, have been a mainstay of the group stages.
In their qualifying group Croatia are currently top on ten points with one more win than Italy who share the same tally, leaving Norway third on nine points. Norway might have beaten Malta three nil, Bulgaria 2-1 and Azerbaijan one nil, but their 2-0 defeat to Italy does call into question their ability against a quality team, and lets not remember whilst the Norwegians got one past Azerbaijan, the Croatians ran riot and gave them a six nil drubbing.
If you’re Norwegian gambling laws of random chance might give you some hope against the Croatians, and who amongst us can say it won’t, you should head on over to ComeOn! Sportsbook who are offering a generous 5.85 on your team winning, although the Croatians are just 1.52, but perhaps a far more sensible wager might be a draw (especially if the weather is bad) upon which one can get odds of 4.00 and is definitely worth a punt.