Norway took the break with a five-goal lead, and there are plenty of indications that a second consecutive European Championship semi-final is in the hands of the handball masters.
But Sweden responded right after the break and after the break it was cut to a goal. Norway still looked away for a long time and were occasionally led by three and four goals. But in the end, yellow and blue are the best. 15 seconds from the end, Valter Chrintz scored the winner from the penalty spot.
Chrintz’ goal was the difference between Norway’s success and failure. With the draw, Norway finished second in the group ahead of Sweden on goal difference. That has given Norway a ticket to the semifinals.
– How do you mess this up here, then? asked NRK commentator Patrick Rowlands after the defeat became a fact.
– We destroy for ourselves. We didn’t play well in the second half, and we took the initiative too easily. “Absolutely disappointing,” Christian O’Sullivan of Norway told organizers after the match.
– It feels like we’ve wasted four weeks of our lives now. “We got what we wanted but then we dug a really deep hole that we never avoided,” said Harald Reinkind after the game.
– Scored almost no goals
O’Sullivan believes attacking play was a flop for Norway.
– It’s not good enough. Don’t know how much we scored in the second half but it was a lot less than it should have been. “Today, it’s easy to blame attacking play,” he said.
– We barely scored. We scored maybe nine goals in the second half, and that’s too little, says the goalkeeper Torbjørn Bergerud to NRK.
National team coach Christian Berge assessed the Norwegian children were too stressed in the second half.
– We had the momentum, and then there was the decisive moment. We fought us, and Sweden was there and biting. We can’t keep up, he told NRK.
– Minor details must be present
NRK expert Håvard Tvedten believes that Norway had too few bad chances and too weak a finish.
– We didn’t play defense against Sweden, and then they pressed. We didn’t score in the last six minutes, and then it became difficult. That’s how it is in a tense match like this. “If you’re going to fight for the semifinals, it’s the small details that have to be there,” said Tvedten.
Now the battle for fifth place in the European Championship awaits the Norwegian man. There, France or Iceland will be opponents.
– We should get together and try to take fifth place. We want to win every game we play, but today was difficult. “We didn’t play well in the second half and they beat us in the end,” said O’Sullivan.
The last good stronghold
Goalkeepers are really important in the game. Kristian Sæverås appeared as Norway’s main star before half-time and it was crucial for Norway to lead 14-9 with halfway to play.
– We got a new save from Kristian Sæverås. We need a leader in this fight. Norway’s Winston Churchill has emerged as a great leader, commentator Patrick Sten Rowlands said on NRK radio broadcast.
But after halftime, it was the Swedish goalkeeper who decided. At the same time as Norway’s attack failed, Peter Johannesson gave the game a top-class goalkeeper.
– Statistics speak for themselves. It is the Swedish goalkeeper who equaled the Norwegian goalkeeper in the second half and at least did well. “We’ll be too easy to read in the second half,” pundit Håvard Tvedten told broadcast NRK.
– We just have to praise Sweden. They were very good defensively in the last quarter. Rarely do we see such good defensive play, continued the former national team champion.
Norway in the semifinals
For Sweden, the semifinals are now the next stop. And even though the Norwegian men failed, one Norwegian could cheer after the game.
Glenn Solberg is the coach of the Swedish national team.
– I’m happy and proud of the team, and the team spirit we have. I was touched, he told NRK.
– First and foremost, we continued to play the defense we had throughout the tournament. We get more counter attacks and more sign up to attack. This is great team morale. We came off the pitch with a win and a semi-final, and that was huge,” he said.
Sweden advanced to the semifinals with Spain from group Norway. In the second group, which will be decided on Wednesday, Denmark are already set for the semifinals, while France and Iceland are fighting for the final place.
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