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Football: Underrated Norway set to outclass Moldovans.

Byline: Kevin Pullein

CONSIDER a buy of Norway supremacy at 0.8 for the World Cup Group Five qualifier in Moldova, writes Kevin Pullein.

In international football, the European countries that most often seem to be underrated are those from Scandinavia.

Norway are no longer as good as Denmark or Sweden - in fact, they are now noticeably inferior to the Norway sides that regularly reached European Championship and World Cup finals during the 1990s - but probably they should still be considered a whole goal superior to Moldova in Chisinau.

Norway have posted one poor result so far - a 1-1 draw at home to Belarus. They started with a narrow loss in Italy, then won 1-0 away to Scotland (who are better than Moldova) and 3-0 at home to Slovenia (who are also better than Moldova).

In the Euro 2004 qualifying campaign, Norway finished just one point behind Denmark, who impressed in thefinals, then lost in the play-offs to Spain, one of European football's major powers.

Moldova's last World Cup 2006 qualifier was a 1-1 draw at home to Scotland - a result the visitors considered so humiliating that coach Bertie Vogts paid for it with his job (though in the betting markets the hosts, with the benefit of ground advantage, were rightly considered as likely to win as their visitors).

Before that, Moldova lost narrowly at home to Italy and heavily away to both Slovenia and Belarus. In previous tournaments, they have normally lost at home to decentstandard European visitors, a category that still just about includes Norway.

Recommendation Buy Norway supremacy 8pts at 0.8 (Sporting, Spreadex)
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2005
Words:267
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