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FOOTBALL

Norway prodigy left off Real Madrid squad

Norwegian football prodigy Martin Ødegaard has been left off the squad for Real Madrid’s match against Germany’s Schalke 04, confounding earlier reports that he was due to make his Champions League debut.

Norway prodigy left off Real Madrid squad
Martin Ødegaard in his Real Madrid debut against Bilbao Athletic. Photo: Javier Lizon / EFE / NTB scanpix
The 16-year-old midfielder would have been the youngest player ever to play in the European competition if he had been fielded for the match on Wednesday. 
 
Europe's top clubs competed vigorously to sign Ødegaard this winter before the Norway international finally signed for Real Madrid in January. The Spanish club has always stressed that the 16-year-old would initially play mainly for the reserve team. 
 
Nigerian defender Celestine Babayaro took the record for the youngest player ever to play in the Champions League when he played for Belgium's Anderlecht against Steaua Bucharest in 1994.
 
He was 16 years and 87 days old when he played, giving Ødegaard, who is 16 years two months and one day old, less than a month to scoop the record. 

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FOOTBALL

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland want to jointly host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027.

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup
Sweden players during this year's World Cup in France. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The five Nordic nations want to share hosting duties for the 2027 edition of the World Cup finals and are to present the idea to the Nordic Council at a meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday, Danish football association DBU has confirmed.

FIFA is already positively disposed to joint bids for future finals tournaments, which has lent encouragement to the Nordic project, according to DBU's chairman Jesper Møller.

“We can see that support for women's football is here to stay, most recently at the (2019) World Cup in France, where matches were played in front of full stadiums and television viewers' interest was huge,” Møller said.

“A joint Nordic World Cup would not only ensure a fantastic experience for many football fans but will also strengthen important Nordic partnerships and community, and hopefully inspire many football-keen women and girls,” he continued.

“That's why support from the Nordic Council is important,” he added.

The Nordic Council (Nordisk Råd) is the official body for inter-parliamentary co-operation among the five Nordic countries and three territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands.

DBU is also looking into the possibility of hosting the 2025 European Championships in Denmark.

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