The historic win means that Norway can set up a draw against Sweden on Tuesday to reach the semifinals of the European Championships.
Norway had to win by two goals or more to get such a starting point. The top three teams now have six points each before the final round.
– We haven’t won for almost 25 years against Spain, so we decided to give it our all today, said Harald Reinkind in a match interview after the game.
– So much fun playing today.
– We really want to win this match, he continued.
The Norwegians come into Sunday’s game from two back-to-back wins over Poland and Germany, and have gained renewed confidence after a rather lopsided opener in the championship.
– That is very fun. People struggle and struggle. And then we take Spain to a track we’ve never had before,” said national team coach Christian Berge.
– Glad not to have to answer questions about another Spanish defeat?
– I’ve gotten a little tired of the question, so it’s good to break that line, admits Berge, which nevertheless points out that it’s not been the same Norwegian crew over the years.
Norway unlocks the best
Norway started the game well. The Norwegians quickly took the lead, and after a quarter of an hour of play, Norway really took a 9-5 lead – thanks not to the superb Harald Reinkind.
Erik Toft, who impressed with his shotgun against Germany, also showed himself with a few punches against Spain.
The Norwegian team was totally surprised by being the best team in some parts of the first half and went into the break with a 14-11 lead.
– I think Spain was very unfocused and made a lot of technical mistakes. We’re good at punishing them too, commented handball expert NRK Håvard Tvedten at half-time.
Will Norway reach the semifinals?
19 games without a win
Spain are the reigning champions of the European Championship, and have not lost a European Championship match since 23 January 2018.
Then a defeat against Slovenia en route to Spanish gold. Spain won the European Championship in 2018 and 2020.
And Norway doesn’t have a good history against champions Spain. 18 defeats and a draw show disappointing statistics before they meet in Bratislava.
Team Norway had not won a single game over Spain in just 24 years (or 8825 days) before Sunday’s European Championship clash. The last time Norway won a game over Spain was two-year-old Sander Sagosen.
– I am impressed and proud of our achievements, Sagosen told NRK.
He was also rested for some time in this settlement, as he continued to fight against the Germans.
– It’s nice to sit here and see people doing well there. “It wasn’t my best start to today’s game,” he said.
– It’s fun to live according to
Not a few experts previously thought that Norway could really win this match.
Instead, a contented Sebastian Barthold predicted beforehand that Norway would win. After the match, he could happily state that he was right.
– It’s fun to fulfill what you predict. I can only go on saying that someone has to win, maybe, he smiled.
– I think we’ll see heroic Norway again against Sweden, he promised.
Spain played more after the break, but Norway still did not let Spain take the initiative in the match. When coach Christian Berge timed out a quarter of an hour before the end, the team was leading 22-19.
And when the referee blows the game, the players can cheer. They finally beat Spain. On the scoreboard it’s 27-23.
Battle for the final
The neighbors’ duel between Norway and Sweden on Tuesday will probably only send one team to the semifinals. Spain met jumbo group Poland in their last game and after all sun signs will win that match.
– Hopefully it will be…. a fun match, said Vetle Ack Aga of the Sweden match.
– I’m sure we take them.
These are the two best teams in the group going on, and nothing has been finalized yet. Germany is still without a chance to advance to the semifinals. The same goes for Russia.
Earlier in the evening, Poland and Russia played 29-29. Germany – Sweden ended with a win for Sweden 25-21.
The semifinals, the battle for 5th place and the final and bronze matches will be played in Budapest this weekend.
“Infuriatingly humble coffee guru. Travel practitioner. Freelance zombie fanatic. Certified problem solver. Food scholar. Student.”