The Norwegian hope for World Cup gold in handball lives on after a 30-27 victory over Sweden on Monday. Magnus Jøndal was crowned king when Norway won in style in the fateful game.
Jøndal was formerly called “the silent sniper” of the World Cup, the man who quietly terrorised his opponents by scoring.
It also happened this time. He scored seven goals in the first half against Sweden. He took over as a shooter when Sander Sagosen had a heavy period of attack. Finally, Jøndal ended up scoring all his eleven shots in the match.
Magnus Abelvik Rød and Sagosen were also very important in the Norwegian attack with several goals. Christian O’Sullivan was central at both ends of the match.
The victory sent Norway a long step towards the semifinals in Hamburg on Friday, but it could still turn around in this group. On Wednesday, Denmark plays against Sweden while Norway meets Hungary.
Goal difference can be decisive if Norway, Denmark and Sweden end up with the same score.
‘’It was good to win. We were really pressing the pedal to the metal. Players were tired for the last 20 minutes. Gøran (Johannessen) was also half-injured. He got a cramp in the calf’’ said national team chief, Christian Berge, to TV 3
‘’We could have won more, because we had some really good opportunities. Bjarte (Myrhol) missed, and we had failed shots. That is how it will always be. The defence was much better this time, and we got much more flow among our shooters’’.
In front of the World Cup, many of the Norwegian players were clear that the Denmark project was about one thing: to take the gold.
Weak play for 40 minutes against Denmark in the group stage was partly corrected by winning against Sweden.
Sweden was terrified of Norway’s counter-play. The Swedes stopped this part of the game for a long time effectively with few technical errors in attacks, disciplined races home and some small plays to stop Norway.
Then towards the break, the Norwegian guys ran into three quick goals. Just before, Norway had changed goalkeeper. Torbjørn Bergerud opened strongly, but fell off and had to give the place to Espen Christensen.
In the last five minutes towards the break, 12-13 turned to 17-14 for Norway. The Swedes seemed tired, and Norway gained momentum for the fight.
It continued in the second round where Sweden was periodically played out and met a very good Norwegian defence. Towards the end of the round, they reduced the blue-yellow crew, but never managed to seal it. One minute before, Torbjørn Bergerud made a solid save from the edge.
Norway beat Sweden in the main round of the European Championships last year, but victory did not help in their advancement. The Swedes went to the semi-finals, and later the finals, despite the loss.
The winner of the World Cup is directly qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Next year, Norway is part organiser of the European Championships together with Sweden and Austria.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today