Norway National
Norway National Football Team

National Team Information

General Info

Drillos, Løvene (The Lions)

World Cup Participation

1938, 1994, 1998



Norway National Football Team History

Although football has been played in Norway since the 1880s, the first national team wasn’t formed until 1908. Norway’s first international match was against Sweden and they lost 11-3 on the day.

Norway participated in the 1912 Olympics but they failed to win their first 27 matches in all competitions. They finally broke the unfortunate streak in 1918 by defeating Denmark 3-1.
In the coming years, Norway managed some good results including wins over France and England. They participated in the 1936 Olympics and managed to knock out Turkey in the first round.

Norway faced hosts Germany in the second round and were reportedly so sure of defeat they had already booked return tickets. If true, they would have had to cancel them, as the Lions got a famous 2-0 win from two Magnar Isaksen goals. Norway fell to Italy in the semifinal but won the third-place match 3-2 over Poland as Arne Brustad scored a hat trick.

In their first World Cup appearance, in 1938, Norway faced Italy once again. In what was then a straight knockout tournament, Italy defeated Norway 2-1 in extra time from a Silvio Piola goal. Norway initially took a 2-1 lead in regulation but had the goal called back for a questionable offside.

The Lions wouldn’t return to another World Cup for 56 years.
Post WWII, Norway struggled and some players were even placed in concentration camps during the war. There were few highlights for Norway through the 50s, save for a 1-0 win over Hungary in 1958 World Cup Qualifiers. This had a lot to do with the fact that the Norwegian Football Federation banned professional players from the national team during this time. Finally, in 1969 they changed their rule to allow professionals to play on the national team.

Still, this didn’t change Norway’s fortunes as they still failed to qualify for another major tournament. In the 1980s, Norway managed wins over Italy and Argentina but they were only in friendly matches. Once Egil “Drillo” Olsen became national team coach in 1990, Norway’s fortunes reversed. In the span of just three years, Norway went from middling European side to the second-ranked team in the World. They also qualified for the 1994 World Cup over England and Poland.

In the 1994 World Cup, Norway defeated Mexico but lost to Italy. Needing a win vs. Republic of Ireland to seal knockout stage qualification, the Lions only managed a draw. This meant they went out of the tournament on a tiebreaker. The “Drillos” also qualified for the 1998 World Cup and held a 14-match unbeaten streak heading into the tournament. They drew their first two matches but got an iconic win over Brazil to advance to the round of 16.

Italy remains the only team to defeat Norway in a World Cup as the Italians advanced to the quarterfinal with a 1-0 win. Drillo Olsen stepped down after the tournament but Norway qualified for their first European Championship in 2000. Norway defeated Spain, lost to Yugoslavia and drew with Slovenia. It wasn’t enough to advance to the knockout stage and Norway haven’t qualified for a major tournament since.
They are however, the only team to hold an undefeated record vs. Brazil, with two wins and two draws all-time.

Norway soccer betting has been popular in recent seasons as players like Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard have risen to prominence. The Norwegians narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a final match loss to the Netherlands.

Norway Soccer

Norway Soccer Leagues & Clubs:

The top Norwegian soccer league is called the Eliteserien. Sixteen clubs compete in the league each season and play a double round-robin schedule. At the end of the season, the top team is crowned league champion and the bottom two teams are relegated. The 14th-place team can also be relegated if they lose a playoff. The league is one of the few top-flight European leagues that runs through the Summer. The season starts in March and ends in early November.

Eliteserien Clubs 2023
Sarpsborg 08

The second-tier Norwegian soccer league is the Norwegian First Division. Sixteen clubs also compete in the First Division and each team plays one another twice throughout a season. The top two teams in the league are automatically promoted to the Eliteserien at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the teams who finish in third to sixth place contest promotion playoffs for the right to play the 14th place team in the Eliteserien. The winner of the final playoff plays in next season’s Eliteserien. Two teams are automatically relegated to the third tier. The 14th-place First Division team contests a playoff to determine whether they stay put or go down.

Norwegian First Division Clubs 2023
Sandnes Ulf

Norway Cups & Tournaments

Norway Soccer Betting Information

Betting on the Eliteserien

The Eliteserien is an exciting league for Norway soccer betting. It’s typically quite a high-scoring league and over three goals per game have been scored in each of the last three seasons. Three of the best teams in recent seasons have been Molde FK, FK Bodo/Glimt and Rosenborg BK. Bodo/Glimt won their first-ever titles in 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, Molde and Rosenborg have been consistently good over the last decade. 

Molde won the league in 2022 by 18 points and kept the most clean sheets in the league. Clean sheets were quite rare in the 2022 season, with no team keeping them in more than 40 percent of their matches. Clean sheets occurred in just 40 percent of matches and both teams scored 63 percent of the time. Home teams enjoyed a clear advantage, winning 45 percent of the time. Meanwhile, away teams won 31 percent of the time and draws occurred in 24 percent of matches.

Overs frequently came through in 2022 as well. Over 2½ goals occurred 66 percent of the time and 42 percent of matches had four or more goals scored. There’s quite a big gap between the top teams and the lower-tier teams. Only six teams finished the season with a positive goal difference in 2022.

Norway National Team Betting Tips & Odds

Erling Haaland has broken all kinds of records at club level already and is on pace to do the same with Norway

The Norwegian national team has a bright future ahead of them. There’s always a chance to qualify for major tournaments with one of the world’s top players. Erling Haaland has broken all kinds of records at club level already and is on pace to do the same with Norway. As of the end of 2022, Haaland had 21 goals in just 23 matches. With players like Martin Odegaard, Sander Berge, Mohammed Elyounoussi, Kristoffer Ajer and Alexander Sorloth, Norway are quite a competitive team now.

Betting tips recommend giving them a look in upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers. They’re in a group with Spain, Scotland, Georgia and Cyprus. A top-two finish will mean they qualify for their second-ever European Championship. They could certainly beat Scotland and others to the second seed if Haaland can stay healthy. In 2022 alone, Norway managed to grab wins over Sweden, Ireland, Serbia and Slovakia. 

Heading into 2023, they’ve lost just five of their last 23 matches. Haaland was also the joint-leading scorer in the 2022 UEFA Nations League, with six goals. Norway will enter the 2024 Nations League in the “B” League but will certainly be candidates for promotion.


Norway soccer betting should grow in popularity as this new generation of players matures and gains experience. The Norwegian Eliteserien has a handful of teams who are capable of making runs in European competitions as well. Fans of attacking football may also enjoy watching and betting on the Eliteserien.

Norway National Team FAQS

Is sports betting legal in Norway?

Yes but Norsk Tipping is the only Norwegian-based company allowed to offer sports betting services. It is possible for Norwegians to bet on offshore sportsbooks though.

Is in-play betting allowed in Norway?

Yes, in-play bets can be made in Norway.

Who is the Eliteserien’s all-time top scorer?

Sigurd Reshfeldt scored 172 goals in the Eliteserien, more than any other player.

Which Norwegian team has won the most championships?

Odd and Rosenborg have both been Norwegian champions, as winners of the Norwegian Football Cup, 12 times. Rosenborg have the most league titles, with 26, so they’re the most successful club in Norwegian history.

What is football called in Norway?

Football is spelled fotball in Norwegian.
Back to top button

Point Spreads Logo

email icon

Bet like a PRO!

email icon

Subscribe now and get Weekly Expert Free Picks