Norway extend continental domination with ninth EHF EURO win
21 Nov. 2022
One year after securing the title at the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship with an otherworldly comeback in the second half against France, Norway proved their mettle and mental toughness once again to bounce back from a difficult score in the EHF EURO 2022 final against Denmark. They took their ninth title in the continental competition, with a 27:25 win in the Arena Stozice in Ljubljana.
Denmark led the game by as many as five goals in the first half (10:5), looking set to capitalise on Norway’s woes, who were missing five crucial players at the EHF EURO 2022. Yet the 31:29 Denmark win in the main round really motivated Norway, who had something to prove and managed to stay close until the break, where Denmark led by three goals (15:12).
With a superb performance from the final’s Player of the Match Nora Mørk, Norway used a 4:0 unanswered run that spanned nearly eight minutes to tie the game. They took the lead for the first time in the 54th minute (24:23) and never looked back, clinching a superb 27:25. They secured their ninth EHF EURO trophy, an outstanding achievement, given that Norway have won 60% of the 15 editions played in the tournament.
Denmark finished second and clinched a medal at the EHF EURO for the first time since 2004, underlining their comeback on the biggest of stages, after finishing fourth at the EHF EURO 2020 and third at the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship, with the Scandinavian side definitely eyeing the gold medal at the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship, which they will co-host with Norway and Sweden.
In the bronze medal match, Montenegro sealed an epic tournament with a medal, winning the game against France 27:25 after extra-time, with the reigning Olympic champions starting the tournament with six wins in the preliminary round and the main round, but conceding two losses during the final weekend in Ljubljana.
It was the second medal for Montenegro, who had previously won the tournament in 2012 and finished fourth in 2014, as right wing Jovanka Radičević, one of the best right wings in the history of the game, ended her international career after the end of the EHF EURO.
Norway won seven of the last nine EHF EURO editions, finishing second in 2012 and fifth in 2018, with their lowest-ever ranking the sixth place in 2000. They are also the team with the highest number of wins in the competition (113) and the only side to have scored more than 3000 goals at the EHF EURO.
Moreover, goalkeeper Katrine Lunde became the first player to win six gold medals at the EHF EURO after having been part of the winning team in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2020.
With eight goals scored in the final and 50 goals overall, Nora Mørk became the top scorer of the tournament, making her the only player in history to lead the top goal scorer standings at three different EHF EURO editions – 2016 (53 goals), 2020 (52 goals) and 2022 (50 goals).
Mørk also made the All-Star team, while her teammate, left back Henny Reistad, the second third top goal scorer with 46 goals, was named the MVP of the competition.
Romania’s left back Cristina Neagu became the all-time top goal scorer of the EHF EURO in both men’s and women’s competitions. She is the first player to have reached the 300-goal milestone, finishing her career at the EHF EURO with 303 goals, after announcing the competition will be the final continental tournament for her and confirming that she will retire from international handball after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
With Norway, Denmark and Sweden already qualified for the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship as co-hosts, three other teams – Montenegro, France and the Netherlands – secured their tickets for the tournament, with the third, fourth and sixth placed sides taking the three berths awarded for the EHF EURO 2022.
EHF EURO 2022 All-Star team
Goalkeeper: Cléopâtre Darleux (France)
Right wing: Jovanka Radičević (Montenegro)
Right back: Nora Mørk (Norway)
Centre back: Stine Oftedal (Norway)
Left back: Cristina Neagu (Romania)
Left wing: Emma Friis (Denmark)
Line player: Pauletta Foppa (France)
Best defender: Kathrine Heindahl (Denmark)
MVP: Henny Reistad (Norway)
Top scorer: Nora Mørk (Norway) – 50 goals
4. France, 5. Sweden, 6. Netherlands, 7. Germany, 8. Slovenia, 9. Spain, 10. Croatia, 11. Hungary, 12. Romania, 13. Poland, 14. Switzerland, 15. Serbia, 16. North Macedonia
Photo: European Handball Federation/Kolektiff Images