Friday, June 12, 2009

Norwegian Football

Today we have a post from Colin, Sons of Norway's Cultural Advisor, on Norway's run for the WC (pun intended as either interpretation may be applicable) and some info on Norwegian football.

Last week we blogged about Norway’s national soccer team and their bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup in South Africa. Sadly, with a draw against Macedonia and a loss to the Netherlands, Norway’s chances of making it into the tournament are looking dim.

No one seriously expected Norway to beat the Dutch team – which is consistently ranked as one of the best teams in the world – but the scoreless tie to tiny Macedonia was a major disappointment. You can read analysis of the Macedonia match here and the Dutch game here. The Norwegians will have to win against the tough Scottish team in August and the feisty Icelandic squad in September to keep their World Cup dreams alive.

For some sunnier news then, we’ll turn to Norwegian professional soccer.

Norway’s top-level soccer league, formally called Eliteserien but also known as Tippeligaen, consists of 16 teams from around the country. Over the course of the season, which lasts from spring to autumn, the teams each play each other twice, once at home and once away. As with most soccer leagues, league standing is determined by a point system, where a win is worth three points, a draw is worth one, and a loss is worth zero. At the end of the season, the team with the most points is the winner – which is to say that there isn’t really a post-season or playoff tournament to decide the league champion.

Another major difference between North American professional sports and Norwegian professional soccer is the system of promotion and relegation, common to soccer leagues around the world. At the end of the season, the bottom two teams in the league are kicked out and sent down – relegated - to the next-lowest division, while the top two teams in the lower division are moved up – promoted – to the top league. There are several divisions included in the system, which means that in theory, over the course of years a wealthy team can be relegated to a semi-pro division, while a local amateur team can turn itself into a professional powerhouse. In practice, a small handful of teams have tended to dominate the top league, but it does happen frequently that teams from small towns do well at the top level. A case in point would be Molde FK, hailing from the small city in Møre og Romsdal, which began its current spell in the top league only two years ago and is currently ranked #2, beating out far wealthier teams from Oslo and Bergen.

Here’s a list of the current top-level teams and where they come from:

Tromsø IL: Tromsø
Bodø/Glimt: Bodø
Molde FK: Molde
Aalesunds FK: Ålesund
SK Brann: Bergen
Viking FK: Stavanger
IK Start: Kristiansand
Strømsgodset IF: Drammen
Stabæk Fotball: Bekkestua (Bærum)
Lillestrøm SK: Lillestrøm
Vålerenga: Oslo
Lyn: Oslo
Fredrikstad FK: Fredrikstad
Sandefjord: Sandefjord
Odd Grenland: Skien


Foot said...

Funny, one of our bloggers decided to write about Norway today. See it here:

Anonymous said...

Hey! I just came over this site by accident, and I think it's truly fascinating how passionate you guys are about your Norwegian heritage; cultures and oddities and all. So I strolled around here and decided to follow the blog just for the fun of it, since there are so many cool posts here.

This is my first comment, but it is an important one because I see that in your listing over the Tippeligaen teams you have forgotten this year's best, and all time most-winning side in the league; Rosenborg (from Trondheim). Just felt compelled to let you know :).

Guido, Norway.