Leo's Norse mission
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Oyvind Leonhardsen says Norway still have an outside chance of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup finals, but concedes he and his comrades might not be boarding a plane to Japan and South Korea next summer.
Leo returned to the international fold after an injury enforced absence with a two-goal blast in as many minutes against Bulgaria in a friendly last week and hopes to continue playing for his national team for some time to come and hopefully salvage something from the wreckage that is Norway’s qualifying campaign.
Norway lie fifth in group five with just two points from five games, having suffered defeats to the Ukraine, Poland and Belarus and drawing with Wales and Armenia. Norway are eight points adrift of the play-off berth currently held by Belarus.
"I was very pleased and we won, which was good. I haven’t played for the national side for about six months now so it was nice to be back. Hopefully I will win more caps.
"I missed the Euro 2000 and that was a big blow. We’re not doing so well at the moment in the World Cup qualifying, we still have a hope, but realistically it doesn’t look very good. I like to play for my country and I would like to play as many times as possible.
"The World Cup is worry but I was away for a long time and for me, it is just nice to be back."
On the domestic front, Leo’s return to fitness has been a boost to Glenn Hoddle’s injury-ravaged options and the midfielder even played in attack against Liverpool — not that he minds.
"It is nice to be back and play a few games. We must get as many points as we can get and impress the new manager."