Norway skipper Brede Hangeland is looking for another footballing miracle from Egil Olsen against Scotland to rescue the Norwegians' fading FIFA World Cup™ qualification hopes.
Olsen guided Norway to the FIFA World Cup finals in 1994 and 1998, where they famously beat Brazil, and under his tutelage the Scandinavians peaked at No2 in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The former Wimbledon manager answered the call of his nation in February after Age Hareide had quit following Norway's poor form.
With the Norwegians bottom of Group 9 with three points from five games, they need victory against second-placed Scotland at the Ullevaal Stadium tomorrow night to have any hopes of finishing runners-up to section winners Netherlands with enough points to guarantee a play-off spot.
Hangeland is encouraged by Norway's 1-0 friendly win in Germany in January, in what was Olsen's first game back.
I believe that if you count forward passes, square passes and support passes, the most effective way to play is by playing around 75 per cent of your passes forward.
"Historically, Olsen has done great things for the Norwegian national team," the Fulham defender said. "He performed miracles 15 or 20 years ago and we saw some of that when we played Germany away earlier this year.
"Hopefully we can repeat that a couple of more times in the coming games. So I hope he has a miracle left in him, let's wait and see. It is more or less our last chance to do something about our qualification hopes. So needless to say the game is very important. We have a chance but we need to win if we want to go to the World Cup.
"We don't fear any of the Scottish players but we respect them. They have some very good players and a good team so we will have to be at our best to win. There is more pressure on us as we have less points but there is always pressure in football."
Hangeland laughed at the suggestion that in this match, it is Scotland who could be termed the football team.
"It's not many times Scotland are described as that," he said. "I would say both teams are known more for their physical approach than their style of play so it will probably be a physical game but it should be interesting."
I hope he has a miracle left in him, let's wait and see. It is more or less our last chance to do something about our qualification hopes.
Olsen held court at the Ullevaal Stadium with plenty of charm and no little eccentricity while admitting that he would have to take risks in order to find Norway's first win in the group. However, he refused to apologise for his legendary route-one approach to football and claimed that even Brazil could learn a lesson from him.
And the former Wimbledon boss could not care less that his style of play does not find favour among all his coaching colleagues in Norway.
"Most of the coaches in Norway disagree with me," he said. "But I believe that if you count forward passes, square passes and support passes, the most effective way to play is by playing around 75 per cent of your passes forward and we have counted this.
"When we beat Brazil in 1998 we played 65 per cent of our passes forward, and Brazil played 35 per cent forward. If Brazil had played 65 per cent forward, they would have beaten us - easily. So that is my philosophy. I know that you can't play 100 per cent of passes forward, that would be stupid, but I think we could increase it.
"We play too many passes square, we could develop a game with more forward passes and when the best teams in the world play at their best, they play the ball forward."