Star striker Erling Haaland was hit hard by his groin injury and the associated absence for the start of the European Championship qualifier with Norway. National coach Staale Solbakken reported meeting the “dejected” attacker in his hotel room at midnight. Haaland was “deeply frustrated and desperate,” said the Norwegian coach.
Haaland and he discussed for a long time whether there was a chance of playing against Spain on Saturday or Georgia three days later. “But he had to stick to the facts, even if he had a bad feeling about it. There was no way.”
Solbakken resisted the impression that Haaland would save himself for his club Manchester City, Bayern Munich’s quarter-final opponents in the Champions League. “If you saw him in my hotel room at twelve o’clock at night, you would understand,” he told Norwegian radio NRK, “he did everything he could do.”
Haaland felt pain after the quarter-finals in the FA Cup with City against Burnley FC (6-0) last Saturday. He faces a race against time to get fit for the Premier League’s premier game against Liverpool on April 1. The first leg against Bayern in Manchester rises on April 11th.