years after their first World Championship title, Norway wrote handball history
in Sao Paulo: By beating the brave fighting French team 32:24 (19:13)
in the final they are the second team after Denmark (1996/97) to be World
Champion, European Champion and Olympic Champion at the same time. For France
it was the second consecutive defeat in a World Championship final after 2009,
when they lost against Russia. Norway extended their huge title cabinet to
eight Gold medals – twice World Champion (1999, 2011), once Olympic Champion
(2008) and five times European Champion (1998, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010). Thanks
to this victory of the Norwegians (current European Champion), Sweden has
qualified directly for the 2012 London Olympic Games as European representative
(Silver medallist at the EHF EURO 2010).
Final: France – Norway 24:32
the Gold medals were handed over by IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa and Manoel
Luiz Oliveira, President of the Brazilian Handball Federation, the Norwegians
started to realize, what they had reached. On the top of the podium they
continued their huge celebrations full of emotions, which had started with the
final buzzer on the field – World Champion 2011!
atmosphere among the nearly 8000 spectators - with a huge Norwegian
group, but also more than 200 frenetic French supporters, was fantastic.
Singing and shouting they were standing behind their teams. And the final was –
for a long time, as expected - a big defence clash by the physically best
prepared teams of this tournament from the first minute on.
started better, but was then beaten by their own weapons: The Norwegian defence
was extremely movable, blocked the French shooters and did not give one
centimeter to their opponent, whilst goalkeeper Katrine Lunde Haraldsen stood
like a rock. And when the “Norge express” had started after the 6:6, it was
unstoppable: First Linn Sulland hit the back of the net from nine or
seven meters, then Kristine Lunde Borgersen hammered the balls in the French
net – and on the pivot position Heidi Löke was fighting as if she would for her
life. So Norway increased the gap to four goals at 13:9 for the first time and
to five at 16:11 in minute 27. As France had to fight extremely hard to score,
Norway went through their defence like a knife cutting warm butter with a big
scoring efficiency. And when Löke – the only member of the All Star Team
present in the final – stroke to 19:12 in minute 30, France (still missing
their injured top stars Pineau and Signate) knew that they need a miracle in
the second half to raise the winner’s trophy.
this miracle went out of sight and reach, as the number of mistakes could not
be increased, goalkeeper Lunde Haraldsen shut the gate and Norway still pricked
the French team with their pinhole attacks. The runners-up of the WCh 2009
lacked ideas in attack and power in defence, when Kari Mete Johansen scored the
24:17 in minute 40. The red dressed Norwegian spectators started singing their
traditional “Heja Norge” song – but France did not resign. They took the profit
of some missed Norwegian shots and returned to the match at 21:26 ten minutes
before the end.
this was the final wake up call for the Northern Europeans, who latest decided
the game five minutes before the end with the 29:23 – and the rest was a huge
“Heja-Norge-party” on then stands and on the field.
after the match:
Krumbholz, coach France: This match is a big disappointment, as we didn’t
succeed in defence as we wanted to, especially against Lunde-Borgersen. It was
decisive that we lacked our injured players Pineau and Signate, who are highly
important for our defence. I hope they come back sonn, but unfortunately Pineau
will not be able to play at the Olympic Qualification Tournament. So her injury
is much more disappointing than the final defeat. Norway was not afraid of us,
in contrast: they were much stronger.
Hergeirsson, coach Norway: We were well prepared for the final and we saw the
final step of a great development of our team in this tournament. We had to
take many challenges in 2011, as many players were not so healthy that they
could play at the World Championship. We started to integrate young players and
played many friendly matches – including four defeats against France before
Brazil. So the key to success were the development and the cooperation with
experienced players like Kristine Lunde-Borgersen, who had given birth in
February. But thanks to a special training program she was ready for Brazil,
what was highly important as our key players Hammerseng and Larssen had to be
replaced. We knew before the final that, if we give four to five per cent more
than in the semi, we have a chance to win. And the most important fact in the
end was: The girls wanted to win, and if they want to win, you will win. It is
great to have the three major titles now, as we are always playing to win. But
right after Christmas we will start preparing for the Olympics, as all other
teams improve, and we do not want to be overtaken. It is a great honour for us
that we received an SMS of the Norwegian Prime Minister after the victory,
aside we hope for a huge Christmas present from the Swedish team, which is
qualified for the Olympics now.
Spincer, player France: We feel very sad, as we wanted to bring the Gold medals
to France. We were weak in defence in the first half and missed too many
chances in attack after the break. Now I hope that we can improve at the
Olympic Qualification Tournament to get the ticket to London.
Grimsbö, player Norway: We have shown that we have a good team. If maybe even
better players join our squad at the Olympics we get better an better – but all
other teams work hard, too.
The All Star Team of the World
Chana Masson (Brazil), Left wing: Emilia Turei (Russia), Left back: Andrea
Penezic (Croatia), Centre back: Alison Pineau (France), Right back: Line
Jörgensen (Denmark), Right wing: Carmen Martin (Spain), Pivot: Heidi Löke
Final ranking of the XX Women’s
World Championship in Brazil: