No heartbreak for Norway after 34-24 against Tunisia
Sander Sagosen took the Norwegian handball boys to a splendid World Cup premiere with 34-24 over Tunisia on Friday. Norway’s medal ambitions were strengthened. There were, however, a few flies in the ointment.
National team chief, Christian Berge, drove the crew from the start. Also included was Christian O’Sullivan.
He had a knee operation a month ago. It was unclear for a while if he wanted to reach the World Cup.
Tunisia are the ruling African champions, and that means that there is talk of a good team also in the World Cup context.
It was smooth for ten to twelve minutes. Norway went to 11-6 and 12-7. Tunisia failed to settle that move.
Thus, it became a solid Norwegian World Cup opener, where many players gained good experience. The scores on the shoots were sky-high (78%) before the break.
Magnus Jøndal made a world-class performance on the left and scored to order. There were six goals in six shots in the first half.
He stopped at nine goals and was named the boss.
Keeper, Torbjørn Bergerud, received absolutely enough defective support that he can move on in the World Cup without any disturbance.
However, Norway has things to work at. There were just too many unnecessary errors in periods. O’Sullivan and Gøran Johannessen were understandably a little rusty after a break from matches due to injury for several weeks.
In defence, the interaction did not always sit as it should. It was unnecessary for Norway to release Tunisia right up to 20-23 and 21-24.
Then Sagosen and Bjarte Myrhol took a grip. After a few minutes, it was 29-22. Finally, the victory margin was double-digit.
In the run-up, the Norwegian squad has been offensive and talked about World Cup gold. The opening match gave several good indications, but Norway must be on top on Thursday next week. Then the group final happens against Denmark.
There will be almost 15,000 spectators in the Boxen arena. On Friday, 8000 people came to the hall in Herning.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia are the opponents in a game where the Norwegian guys are a huge favourite.
Norway’s further program in the group stage is Austria (Monday), Chile (Tuesday) and Denmark (Thursday).
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today