Group C: Norway make it three from three

14 Jan. 2019

Group C: Norway make it three from three

2017 runners-up Norway are proving to be in very impressive form at the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship, as they extended their perfect run through Group C on Monday evening and moved up to six points. Norway defeated Austria with a clear final score line of 10 goals, though their opponents played a solid game themselves and fought admirably to the final whistle.

Austria remain on two points following their opening victory over Saudi Arabia, followed by the defeats versus Chile and now Norway.

Norway vs Austria 34:24 (16:13)

As opposed to their previous matches, where the goals rained in from all positions from the outset, Norway’s attacking threat was more individual against Austria – in fact, most of the action in the first half took place on one side of the court. For Norway, it was left back Sander Sagosen and left wing Magnus Jondal who led the charge through the first 30 minutes, while Austria relied mainly on right back Janko Bozovic and right wing Robert Weber.

At the 10th minute, 5:5, Sagosen, Jondal, Bozovic and Weber were the only ones on the board. As the clock ticked on and Norway began to create a gap after what had largely been a one-for-one contest, more players added their names to the list of scorers. But still, the quartet of high scorers through the opening were responsible for a combined 17 goals when Norway held a 15:12 lead in the 26th minute.

As always, Norway favoured a very fast pace – even quicker than what they have shown at previous championships. It is clear the 2017 silver medallists are preparing to play as fast as humanly possible when it comes to what they expect to be their most difficult matches. Initially Austria could keep up, though the Scandinavian side still tallied a high number of fast breaks.

Both coaches – Christian Berge for Norway and Patrekur Johannesson for Austria, who just passed the 100-match mark at the helm for his side in round two – changed their keepers in the first half. Norway’s were more effective. Though Austria took more shots, they trailed 13:16 at the break thanks to the great game from Torbjorn Bergerud then Espen Christensen, who was particularly strong.

When the match resumed, it was soon clear there was no chance it would end in Austria’s favour. By the 40th minute, Norway had opened a 23:16 lead, at which point Sagosen tallied seven goals while Jondal and Bozovic both counted six. As the final 10 minutes began, Norway were in front by an unassailable eight goals, 27:19, and were certain to take the two points.

Norway’s Goran Johannessen received the hummel player of the match award.

Statements after the match:
Patrekur Johannesson, coach Austria: We played okay in the first half and had a chance to keep up with Norway. I like the way Norway play, with good fitness. Happy about the first 30 minutes but big troubles in the second half. The game was much better than against Chile. Norway had good goalkeepers and the saves created many fast breaks.

Christian Berge, coach Norway: It was a good game. We had a plan to run the entire match. Not the biggest results in the first half, but Austria got tired in the second half which gave us a good result in the end.