Football

Martin Odegaard gives honest assessment of tough Rodri tackle during Spain v Norway

The Scandinavian side felt they should have been awarded a penalty when the graceful playmaker came under a heavy challenge from the Manchester City midfielder after taking a shot in the Spanish box.

The sight of Odegaard down on the turf, writhing in pain will have been a heart-in-the-mouth moment for Gunners fans as their club looks to win a first Premier League title since 2004.

Thankfully though, Odegaard was quickly up on his feet and played the remainder of the match, which ended in a 3-0 victory for Spain at Malaga’s Estadio La Rosaleda.

Dani Olmo found the net for the hosts in the first half before Joselu, a 32-year-old substitute making his debut for the national team, sealed a comfortable win with a late brace.

Norway, however, were without their talismanic striker, Erling Haaland, who was forced to withdraw from the squad through injury.

And, to compound matters further, they were left feeling aggrieved that they weren’t awarded a spot kick by French referee Benoit Bastien, something both Odegaard and Head Coach Stale Solbakken alluded to in their post-match interviews.

“I’m pretty sure I should have had a penalty. He’s coming with his studs right on my ankle,” Odegaard told TV2.

“But I’m sure I’ll get punished [if I say anymore]. I don’t bother saying anything else about the referee. It’s better not to say anything.”

Solbakken added: “He [Odegaard] finishes the shot and you can’t [foul him after]. If I knock someone down after the ball is gone, then it’s a penalty. I get a little bored of this.

“What I see here now [on the replay] is exactly what I saw from the bench. There was a bit of French arrogance going on. That’s the way it is, but it’s unbelievable.”

The Arsenal man did, however, admit that his team simply weren’t ruthless enough on the night.

Odegaard said: “We kept the ball and tried to play out from the back.

“We created some great chances that we have to put away. We didn’t, and they get goals out of nowhere really.

“Then it becomes a slightly uglier scoreline than it felt. We did a lot of good things, but we were not sharp enough in front of the goal.”

Norway are next in action on Tuesday when they travel to Georgia while Spain face Scotland in Glasgow.

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