27 Aug. 2020
The Iceland and the Faroe Islands women’s U16 and U18 national teams recently met for friendly matches in what is one of the first returns to international games in Europe following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With all younger age category (YAC) competitions – both World Championships and European championships – to be held over the summer of 2020 postponed or cancelled, the players in the respective national teams had no projects during the usually busy period. “But a good neighbour is a priceless treasure and, with open borders between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, the National Federations agreed on two friendly games for both W16 and W18,” said the Iceland Handball Federation.
The matches took place on the first weekend of August in the Faroe Islands’ usual arena for national team matches, Höllin á Hálsi. Spectators were allowed in the hall, and the matches were also live streamed.
The Iceland U18 team won both games against the Faroe Islands side, with a clear score line in their favour in the first match, 32:24 (17:8), before the Faroe Islands kept the second far closer, finishing with a result of 21:19 (12:9) for Iceland. In the U16 category, the Faroe Islands were victorious in the first game, 24:23 (9:14), while Iceland won the second 23:21 (10:9).
“[The] importance of friendly games like these in COVID times is big for both teams and coaches and in our hearts we hope soon we can return to international handball the way we know it.”
Activity for junior players critical to future of women’s handball
For Iceland and the Faroe Islands women’s handball, the matches for the U16 and U18 sides, although not official, were important to maintain the drive for improved international results.
Both nations’ senior women’s teams were among the 28 sides vying for places at the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 in December, where the European title will be decided, before the final qualification phase was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Iceland and the Faroe Islands both had two tough defeats before the remaining four rounds were cancelled. While the Faroe Islands have never reached the final tournament, Iceland last contested the women’s European championship in 2012.
The teams will have the chance to fight for places at future EHF EUROs and World Championships, and it will be these U16 and U18 players who become a vital part of that future.
Photo: Iceland Handball Federation