Group C: Perfect Norway power to fourth win

15 Jan. 2019

Group C: Perfect Norway power to fourth win

The match between 2017 World Championship silver medallists Norway and Chile ended with a commanding victory for the Scandinavian team, who steamrolled to their fourth set of two points and left their Pan American rivals behind long before the final whistle.

Norway vs Chile 41:20 (21:12)

If Chile had managed a victory over the 2017 runners-up, it would have been the biggest upset of the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship so far. Norway lived up to their name as the favourites, effectively securing the victory by half-time when they led by nine goals and were clearly comfortable.

In contrast with how other teams may approach an opponent they perceive as weaker, Norway took the court with almost exactly the line-up they are likely to use in their crunch match versus Denmark in round five. The only real difference from the main line-up favoured by coach Christian Berge was that left wing Magnus Jondal sat on the bench for the entire 60 minutes.

However, the second left wing, 18-year-old Alexander Blonz, had a great game. Blonz contributed a total of eight goals and received the hummel player of the match award. In a game where they scored 41 goals, Blonz was naturally not the only high scorer for Norway. By the 45th minute, when Norway held a 32:16 advantage, 11 of their players had scored at least two and many reached a higher tally.

After Chile started with Felipe Garcia in goal while Tobjorn Bergerud stood between the posts for Norway, both changed keepers for the second half. Espen Christensen followed Bergerud’s strong performance, which has seen both Norwegians rank among the top 10 in their position so far at the World Championship. For Chile, Felipe Barrientos came onto court for the second period. Both Barrientos and Garcia made some great saves, but Norway were too powerful for Chile to contain.

The Pan American team are certainly playing with more confidence after their victory over Austria in round two and kept the score to 6:10 at the end of the first quarter – but then Norway began to create the decisive difference. The two points were decided long before the final whistle.

Chile were led in attack by a nine-goal outing from Esteban Salinas.

Statements after the match:
Christian Berge, coach Norway: Thanks to Chile for the match. During the match, we had a lot of trouble with the pivot from Chile, who played good today. Our game plan was to make lots of goals on fast breaks and we did.

Magnus Gullerud, player Norway: It was a fun game. A little bit different from what we are used to. We had the opportunity to use all players today and it was good for us.

Esteban Salinas, player Chile: We have talked about making as few technical fouls as possible because Norway are good in the fast breaks. But today Norway had a solid defence and great keepers.