Seventh European Women’s Handball Champs

After a 15-15 tie score at half time, Norway manages to defeat the Netherlands 30-29

Photo: Bjørn S. Delebekk / VG
Norway eventually prevailed over the Netherlands in a very close final game.

Jo Christian Weldingh
Oslo, Norway

Norway won a thrilling final game against the Netherlands in Gothenburg on Dec. 18 to secure Norway’s seventh European Women’s Handball Championship title.

Nora Mørk, who has been brilliant throughout the championship, was named the best player in the final after 12 goals and nine assists. “It’s crazy and fantastic, and it feels amazing right now!” the right back said after the game.

Mørk and left wing Camilla Herrem were awarded a place on the tournament’s all-star team along with Sadra Toft from Denmark, Christina Neagu from Romania, Carmen Martin from Spain, and two Dutch players, Nycke Groot and Yvette Broch.

Coach Thorir Hergeirsson was also satisfied. “The Netherlands played a good game. They are a very good team. I’m happy that we won, although my tactical dispositions weren’t that good towards the end. I am very happy, and they are a fantastic bunch of players!”

It was a fun, fast-paced game, in which both teams played entertaining offensive handball. The Norwegians were struggling with the Netherland’s counter attacks, while the Dutch were having big problems in figuring out how to stop Nora Mørk.

Norway didn’t play up to its full potential defensively in the first part of the game and trailed 9-13 after 20 minutes, but after seven weak minutes by the Dutch team, Norway was even at 14-14. At halftime, the score was 15-15.

The teams followed each other closely throughout the first part of the second half, but when Norwegian keeper Kari Ålvik Grimsø made several impossible saves in the last 10 minutes and the Norwegian offense improved greatly, Norway was able to create a five-goal gap, a gap that the Netherlands were never able to fill.

In the last five minutes, in a desperate attempt to catch up, the Dutch pulled their keeper and put in an extra attacker every time they were in offense. This tactic worked pretty well and with five seconds to go, just enough time for one final shot, the Dutch were only trailing by one goal. Dutch star player Danick Snelder wasted what would have been a golden opportunity to even the score by accidentally throwing the ball into one of her teammate’s legs, which in handball means they lose possession of the ball. Norway had won the game to be European champions once again.

Both the Norwegian players and the Norwegian press praised the Dutch team after the game. “They came well prepared. We thought we did, too,” Camilla Herrem said to the press, talking about how they never really figured out how to stop the Dutch offense effectively. “We made some stupid mistakes, but we were able to adjust, and our keeper made some great saves towards the end.”

This European championship is seen by members of the press as a brilliant comeback by the Norwegian team after their premature semi-final exit in the Olympics earlier this year. The press praised Coach Hergeirsson on how he has turned the team around in only a few short months.

The Norwegian handball team now has seven European Championships on 12 attempts. In total, they have 12 championship wins: two Olympic gold medals, three World Championships, and seven European Championships.

Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, but is currently living in Oslo. He has a BA in Archaeology from The University of Oslo and a BA in Business Administration from BI Norwegian Business School.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 30, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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