Sunday’s scheduled meeting with Romania was cancelled because of Norway’s strict coronavirus regulations after a player within the original squad tested positive for coronavirus.
The Norwegian players were on their way to the airport on Saturday to catch a chartered flight to Bucharest when authorities told them that such a journey would breach the country’s stringent coronavirus measures after the positive test.
The match was cancelled late on Saturday and the players originally called up left Oslo on scheduled flights on Sunday morning, leaving the country’s FA to try to find a new squad for Wednesday’s group decider away to Austria.
“We are working with an alternative team, yes, but we’re not sure if we will make it,” Norwegian FA spokesperson Christer Madsen told Reuters via text message.
That means replacing leading players such as striker Erling Haaland and playmaker Martin Odegaard with foreign-based players who were not named in the original squad.
Austria top Group 1 in League B on nine points thanks to their 2-1 win over Norway, who also have nine points, in Oslo in September.
The Austrians can take a three-point lead if they beat Northern Ireland on Sunday but Norway, who are likely to be handed a 3-0 defeat by UEFA after their no-show in Romania, could still win the group if they beat Austria on Wednesday by a margin of two goals or more.
Additional reporting by Reuters.