Group II: Norway move to second; await final match results
23 Jan. 2019
Norway did their job in the second match in Jyske Bank Boxen on Wednesday night, taking a commanding win over Hungary that took them to eight points on the Group II table. The 2017 runners-up are now second behind Denmark and await the result of the last Group II game between the co-hosts and Sweden to learn who will proceed to the semi-finals.
Norway vs Hungary 35:26 (16:13)
With a place in the semi-finals on the line, Norway had everything to play for. They were therefore expected to put on their best performance in the race for Group II’s tickets to the penultimate stage, and they were relentless as they recorded a nine-goal victory versus Hungary.
Hungary held the upper hand through the opening minutes before the 2017 World Championship runners-up took the lead. In the eighth-minute, they claimed the advantage off Magnus Jondal’s fourth goal – and it was the right wing who pulled them in front to their first two-goal distance in the 10th minute with what was already his fifth.
Norway built a difference as large as five goals, 13:8, before Hungary closed the gap a little by half-time. In the second period, there was no doubt who the two points belonged to, as Norway immediately opened a considerable lead – 20:14 by the 34th – and confidently raced to the final whistle.
In contrast with their last two matches, where seven and then six players found the goal, it was a big effort all round that took Norway to the win over Hungary. By the end of the game, eight players had contributed to the attacking effort, led by Jondal with seven goals and right back Magnus Rod on the same tally. Norway coach Christian Berge used some interesting tactics, often favouring two line players working with Rod and Sander Sagosen, who have been outstanding in leading the back court.
For Hungary, Zsolt Balogh had an exceptional match, scoring a total of 11 goals. But when the back scored his last on a penalty, 31:24, the outcome was clearly decided as the clock showed just five minutes remaining.
The hummel player of the match award went to Jondal.
Statements after the match:
Christian Berge, coach Norway: Firstly, I would like to say thank you for a good match. We had a plan to run a lot today. I told my players in the break to run more, and we did. I’m proud of my team.
Vladan Matic, assistant coach Hungary: Firstly congratulations to Norway. We played without any energy in the second half. It was a very bad day for us today, but that is life sometimes.
Alexander Blonz, player Norway: I agree with my coach. We wanted to run. It didn’t work much in the first half, but it was much in the second half with eight goals in counter attack.
Marton Szekely, player Hungary: Congratulations to Norway. I don’t know what to say. We lost and didn’t reach our goal. We weren’t good in attack. Now we have time to think. Again congratulations to Norway and good luck with the rest of the tournament.