Rio de Janeiro – The Norwegian handball girls lost a frantic Olympic semifinal against Russia with the score 37-38 on Thursday.
Norway was in the lead at 11-10 before the break. The remainder of the match however was one long struggle to participate at full force. Norway managed to gain extra time, but the Russians ended up cheering.
The Russians had the upper hand most of the time. Norway , who usually wins keeper’s duals, failed this time in Future Hall.
Thus, there were not enough resources to stop the very good Russian team. For Norway the bronze match against Netherland awaits on Saturday.
This is a big disappointment for a team that largely lives for gold.
Shot to bits
Norway opened in a lively manner and led both at 6-3 and 7-4. Katrine Lunde saved two free throws early on in the match, but apart from that it was very weak goalkeeping by the Norwegian goalkeepers.
Only three saves out of 21 shots in open play gave a poor 14.2 percentage score of saves.
The Russian goalkeepers were not significantly better, and goals just kept comming in a Hawaiian-like first half.
After the break the Norwegian girls tried to catch up, and chased repeatedly without getting ahead on the scoresheet. In the dramatic final minutes Nora Dark and Heidi Løke took on the attacking responsibility, and the latter sent the game into an extra innings with her equalizing to 31-31, six seconds before regulation time was over.
In extra-time the Russians were all the time a small furlong ahead, and when Camilla Herrem chipped the ball past the post seconds before the end, the golden final dream for Norway was fianlly over .
Norway could have played their 18th championship finals on Saturday, but they will now instead play the Bronze match.
Thursday’s loss also means that the possibility to copy Denmark’s Olympic triple (1996-2004) have now gone.
France won the second semi-final by 24-23 over the Netherlands.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today