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News Details

Date: 7/31/2016

Korea claimed the bronze medal at the 2016 IHF Women’s Youth (U18) World Championship after an exceptional performance against Norway headlined by goalkeeper Joeun Park, who was named the best player of the match for her side with a rate of 39.1%. 

AEGON Arena, Sunday 31 July
Bronze-medal match: Norway vs Korea 30:32 (17:16)

When the match started it seemed Korea were more motivated. After a level few opening minutes the Asian team created a two-goal lead by the fifth with a goal from line player Sora Kim (4:2), before left wing Soyeon Kim added another that put them in front by three at 5:2 less than 30 seconds later. 

Three minutes on Korea maintained an advantage at 7:4 when Jinmi Shin was sent off on a two-minute suspension, and Norway were able to close the gap to one with the help of a 5:0 plus one defensive system focused on Hyesoo Song (6:7) and great saves from goalkeeper Eline Fagerheim. 

Quite suddenly the momentum of the match switched sides, and when Norway claimed a two-goal advantage at 9:7 in the 13th Korea coach Seong Ok Oh called her first time-out. Midway through the half Norway maintained control at 11:8 before Ayeong Kim decreased the score line to two at 9:11 with a penalty goal. But line player Ane Hovland finished a neat play in the 8th to regain the three-goal lead for her team (12:9), and Norway remained steadily two to three goals in front as the half progressed. 

Goalkeeper Joeun Park made two consecutive saves that helped Korea close the gap to one at 12:13 by the 21st minute, and though her team lost the ball in the next attack she stopped yet another shot on goal to give them another chance to equalise. With five minutes left in the half line player Sora Kim did just that, putting the score at 14:14, before Park stopped Guro Nestaker’s outside shot and right wing Eunhye Hong reclaimed the lead for Korea in the next attack (15:14). 

As the clock wound toward half-time the lead changed hands yet again, and it was Norway that held a one-goal advantage at the break. When the match resumed it was clear coach Vigdis Holmeset had found the right words for her team, as they immediately pulled ahead to a four-goal lead at 20:16, and held it as goalkeeper Sofie Ege Groenlund made a penalty save. 

But Korea fought back to equalise then take the lead again, largely thanks to a number of saves from Park, and when they were in front 22:21 Norway called their second time-out. They levelled again immediately after courtesy of Hovland (22:22) with 14 minutes on the clock. 

The score remained equal for some time before Korea pulled ahead to lead by two at the 50-minute mark (26:24). That was the turning point of the match, and as the last 10 minutes progressed Korea retained an advantage. When they were in front 30:28 in the last two minutes coach Ok Oh called her last time-out, after which Park made a decisive save. 

Norway closed the gap to one at 30:31 and with 15 seconds on the clock Korea began the last attack against man-on-man defence. Right wing Hong managed to find the goal with seconds on the clock, and the bronze-medal win was secured with the two-goal difference. 

Korea coach Ok Oh said she had no trouble motivating her team for today’s game after their disappointing semi-final loss against Russia: “We were fighting for a bronze medal! We believed we could do it, and we focused on the game. 

“I am lucky,” said the multiple Olympic medallist and former world champion concerning her first medal as a coach. “It's my first time being a coach for Korea and I am very, very happy to win the bronze medal.” 

Best players of the match: Joeun PARK (KOR), Line ELLERTSEN (NOR)