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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 9 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 10, 2008

Norway's Riise looking forward to Hampden roar

John Arne Riise believes Norway will have to be at the top of their game to have any hope of taking maximum points from Scotland.

George Burley's men head into the World Cup qualifier hoping to claim another three points after bouncing back from defeat in their opening match in Macedonia with a win in Iceland.

As the home nation, the Scots will be favourites but Riise insists the clash at Hampden is one the Vikings are relishing.

"The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable," he said.

"I've told a few of the boys that we have to come here and enjoy it because there aren't many times in your career you can play in front of these kind of fans.

"But we know it's going to be difficult. Scotland are a very good team at home and we know we will have to be at our best to get a result."

Riise was part of the Norway side who earned a win against Scotland at the same venue four years ago but insists past triumphs will count for nothing come Saturday.

"What I remember from 2004 was the fantastic atmosphere and that it was great to get the three points," he added.

"But this is a different game and we know that. Scotland are strong and we are strong so I hope that both teams play a good game and get the crowd behind their teams."

Riise does not believe the outcome of this game will necessarily have a major bearing on either nation's qualification hopes, despite Norway and Scotland being tipped as the main contenders for the coveted runners-up spot, with Holland expected to win the group.

He said: "It's an important game for both teams and whoever wins this game is going to have the advantage for second place. But I think there is still everything to play for in this group."

Those views were echoed by Morten Gamst Pedersen but the Blackburn man is determined to defy the odds with an away win ahead of their midweek clash with the Dutch.

"You always have a better chance of qualifying if you are winning and you get three points," he said.

"But never say never. You just have to see what the table looks like at the end. We're not here to lose, we will work hard.

"Scotland are big favourites, they are at home and they have 55,000 people supporting them.

"They did well in the last qualifying campaign against big nations like France and Italy so they will be favourites. But we will be ready for the game.

"It's not always about one player. They work hard as a team. (James) McFadden is a great player and maybe (Darren) Fletcher will do well but you never know.

"If you work hard and play well as a team you have a better chance to win."

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