Saturday, May 21

The saga after the handball boys’ transformation: – I got a redemption

BRATISLAVA (VG) (Poland-Norway 31-42) It went hard and slow throughout the group game. But in the first match of the main round, both Sander Sagosen and the counterattack completely took off. Never before has a team scored 42 goals in one and the same European Championship match.


Suddenly, Norway is number two in the table in the main round – the place that gives a place in the European Championship semi-final next week. The transformation was total. Sander Sagosen played to the top grade 10 points in VG.

– I know I have this in me. I’ve felt good, but I did not get it out. It is the beautiful and tiring sport. It’s not just going on the field to perform. It’s about recreating again, again and again. I got a delivery today, Sander Sagosen describes to VG. To TV3, he was aware that Poland was not “all the world’s opposition”.

– I have no doubt about Sander. As a coach, you have a few choices. I have one of the world’s best players on the team who has had some challenge with his game. Should you then play him hot or put him out, says Christian Berge who again has stood load and burst with Sagosen.

Norway’s center has opened the European Championships with a minus in confidence.

– His first round here was as close to perfect as it is possible to complete, says Sebastian Barthold who himself scored 10 of 10 shots in goal.

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– It is extremely easy to play with him when he plays like today, describes Christian O’Sullivan who also rose after a lot of knots in the European Championship introduction.

Norway scored just six clean counter-attacks in three games in Košice. It totally turned around on arrival in Bratislava. Norway scored six clean counterattacks in just 19 minutes. Already at the break, Norway led 21–15.

– The guys released the handbrake completely and stuck to everything, says Christian Berge to VG.

– We have been waiting for this ketchup effect. This is how it has looked in training, says Berge to VG.

– It has been surprising that we have not been able to take it out in battle, he says.

– Why is it happening?

– We have been reasonably far down in the basement after the loss to Russia. It has been a tough job to get back up. The players have it and everyone in the support apparatus has worked hard to turn this around.

DOMINATED: Sander Sagosen against Poland.

Suddenly, Sander Sagosen was completely transformed. He accelerated from the start and scored two goals in the arrival phase – before Poland had established the defense – and continued with a thunderous shot in goal from long range.

The 26-year-old put tremendous pressure on Poland. Far more than the Poles were able to handle. By the first half, he had scored eight goals and served five assists.

REDEMPTION: Christian Berge hardly got a redemption

– Fantastic. He shows that he is the world’s best handball player, said Joachim Boldsen in the TV 3 studio.

But Sagosen’s spells were followed up. Christian O’Sullivan got up from the form valley and the edges Sebastian Barthold and Kristian Bjørnsen ran like crazy. While the rest of the team pressed after.

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– Finally, the whole team runs. It is extra gratifying to see Barthold and Bjørnsen, said ex-captain Bjarte Myrhol after 30 minutes with 10 goals in arrival and counterattack for Norway.

Barthold scored six before the break while Bjørnsen followed up with four. it swung by Norway. The defensive game did not work as perfectly. But Magnus Gullerud lifted several notches and Torbjørn Bergerud got up five saves.

It continued with even better defensive play after the break until Petter Øverby was sent off for the second time. But then Kristian Sæverås started rescuing.

Kristian Bjørnsen was able to counter Norwegian 10-goal lead and the match was decided before 40 minutes had been played. Poland had long ago given up even before there was a click-click in counterattack from Sæverås to Bjørnsen and finally Barthold who could put the ball in an empty cage.

Finally, Kevin Gulliksen finished with goal number 42. A pilot scoring from the right edge – served by Oppsal friend – Sander Øverjordet. The show was complete.

On Friday, Norway will face hard-hit Germany. The Germans lost Thursday 29-23 to Spain while Sweden beat Russia by the same numbers.

Thus, everything – absolutely everything – went Norway’s way the first night in the Slovak capital.

The VG exchange

Torbjørn Bergerud 5

5 saves / 18 shots

Kristian Sæverås 5

5 saves / 23 shots

Vetle Eck Aga 4

0 goals / 1 shot

Sander Sagosen BB 10

9 goals / 10 shots – 1 error

Sebastian Barthold 9

10 goals / 10 shots

Sander Øverjordet 5

0 goals / 2 shots

Petter Øverby 5

1 goal / 1 shot

Erik Thorsteinsen Toft 6

3 goals / 4 shots

Kent Robin Tønnesen 6

3 goals / 4 shots

Kristian Bjørnsen 8

8 goals / 9 shots

Magnus Gullerud 7

1 goal / 2 shots

Christian O’Sullivan 6

2 goals / 2 shots

Harald Reinkind 6

1 goal / 2 shots

Thomas Solstad 5

1 goal / 2 shots

Kevin Gulliksen 6

3 goals / 4 shots

Alexander Blonz 4

0 goals / 1 shot – 1 error

Christian Berge (coach) 8

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