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Norway takes first step to defend the title

Photo credit: Facebook International Handball Federation - IHF

On the match of the day in group B in Beitigheim, Norway took a clear victory against Hungary. Poland certifies that the results on the friendlies before the World Championship were not accidental and Czech Republic wins over only non-European team of the group, Argentina.

The defending champions showed what they’re made of on their first match against Hungary, who barely had time to react to the eclectic start from the Norwegians. After only 8 minutes, Kim Rasmussen called the first time out as his team was already 7-2 behind on the scoreboard, as a result of a few fastbreaks coming from great defenses from Katrine Lunde.

The second time out was called by the Danish coach after 17 minutes as Hungary didn’t seem to find their way into Norway’s goal and was now losing 13-5. The organized, patient and fast paced attack from the Scandinavians was damaging the goal defended by Blanka Biro who was receiving most of the goals from the 6 meter line. The first half ended with a surprisive 21-11 for the coached by Thorir Hergeirsson, a ten goal difference that was just too much to overcome if their rivals continued to play the same way.

The second period looked better for the Hungarians, however, their effort was not enough to overcome the result. They even won the second half by 9-11, but the 10 goal gap they had trailed from the first 30 minutes was too much. The final result was 30-22 for Norway, who have successfully commenced the defense of their title.

Nora Mørk netted 7 times and was the top scorer for her team, but she also did a great job feeding the pivots, who received without opposition almost every time. The top scorer from the Hungarian side was young Noemi Hafrá, who scored four times, all of them on the second half, when she first jumped to the court to take the right back position. However, the MVP of the match was awarded to Katrine Lunde. The 37-year-old, who played all 60 minutes (only left the court twice for penalty shots) is one to praise; she had a tremendous 50% (20 of 40) of saves and her performance is definitely one of the keys to Noway’s success last night.

At the end of the match, Mørk reacted to the result: “We were pretty nervous and excited before the game. We went through a lot of emotions today and I’m just proud of the team, of the way we present ourselves, the way we show that we are here to do a good championship, and we coudn’t have asked for a better start. Our game plan was to control the match and we know that Hungary, if they get three or four goals ahead of us, they are really good, but we knew that we could crack them if we took the lead and pressure them. We had the lead we wanted and we controlled the game”.

It was not a given that the Norwegian superstar would be in Germany 2017, but now the tournament has started, she does not seem to regret having come: “I was nervous. As I said there were a lot of emotions going through my head and it’s such a good feeling to start the way we did. I don’t know what I will do if I start really bad, but for now I’m really happy and this gives me a lot of confidence and I really need it”.

In the other results from group B, Poland took a win against Sweden for 33-30 and on the first session of the day Czech Republib defeated Argentina 28-22.

 

Today’s schedule for group B in Bietigheim:

14hs: Poland – Czech Republic

18:00hs:  Hungary – Sweden

20:30hs: Argentina – Norway

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