Wednesday, May 18

Uncertain future for Norway’s new successful duo

BRATISLAVA (VG) Christian Berge (48) made it clear several years ago that he wanted Jonas Wille (45) as his next assistant on the national team. Now the two friends are doing EC success together. But the future is uncertain.

FRIENDS: Christian Berge (left) and Jonas Wille became good friends long before Wille came in as an assistant.

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– We are far from finished with this championship. We have full focus on that. Then we will see what comes afterwards, Berge says to VG before Tuesday’s fateful match against Sweden in Slovakia.

Jonas Willes short contract expires on the day the European Championships are over. Berge’s agreement with the Norwegian Handball Association runs until 2025. The national team manager has been linked to Kolstad’s new major investment. He did not want to guarantee anything this autumn.

– You can not say anything more about it now?

– No, I there is not a thought in my head that thinks in those paths yet, he answers.

Wille was brought in at short notice when Elverum coach Børge Lund threw the cards as Berge assistant in October. On a daily basis, the eastern fold Kristianstad trains in the Swedish league.

There does not have to be a continuation of the Norwegian national team.

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– I have not thought much about it. I’ve just been very motivated to do this. Then I thrive very well in Kristianstad as well. It is important that if I am to continue as an assistant, it must feel right. So that I can do a good job both here and in the club. I have to feel it myself. Then the Norwegian Handball Association must also want to continue with me, says Jonas Wille to VG.

In his time, he lifted Halden up in the handball elite series before he has coached HK Midtjylland, Skövde, Mors-Thy and Kristianstad in Denmark and Sweden. Wille has also been the physical trainer for the football club Sarpsborg 08, worked as handball manager at Wang Toppidrett in Oslo, in addition to having coached age-specific national teams on both the boys ‘and girls’ side in NHF.

COMPLETES EACH OTHER: Christian Berge cheers for Norwegian scoring against Spain while Jonas Wille is calm on the bench with goalkeeping coach Steinar Ege.

It was a full flap when he met Christian Berge 5-6 years ago. In 2019, Berge was with Wille during three matches with Skövde to get combat training on the bench.

– To be completely honest, Jonas knew he could be asked and he knew that several years in advance, Berge reveals.

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– I know Jonas well. Socially, we are very online. We have the same humor and enjoy each other’s company, the national team manager believes and has found the tone with Wille also due to a common taste in music.

– Jonas is insanely knowledgeable. I’ve learned a lot from him. He is very strong professionally. But then he also has the human quality that he lets people be people, he too, he says.

After losing last year’s quarterfinals in both the World Cup and the Olympics, Norway has changed a good deal in the European Championships.

** Goal goals and gold talk have been replaced with a development goal of playing “good handball”.

** The defensive game is run according to new and more Spanish principles.

** A clear commitment to the first choices has been replaced with a completely new use of the breadth of the team. Suddenly, Erik Toft and Sander Øverjordet have become a hot alternative to Sander Sagosen and Christian O’Sullivan.

Wille was last season club coach for Toft and Øverjordet in Denmark. He is clear that he has not pushed through changes, but that he has come up with clear proposals – especially on how the defensive game should be solved.

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– Christian has been as crystal clear as me that Erik Toft should join. He has also seen that he performs at a high level, says Jonas Wille who received a lot of praise for the defensive tactics in the historic victory against Spain on Sunday.

– Now there will be a lot of focus on it, but my God Norway has performed well in defense many times. So I do not bother to take credit for it, says Jonas Wille

Berge praises Willes’ curiosity and constant interest in obtaining new information.

– He is an insanely skilled leader, Berge thinks.

On Tuesday, the last match in the main round – against Sweden – will decide whether Norway will go to the medal matches in Budapest next weekend. Wille trains daily on one of Sweden’s best clubs.

– I know Sweden well, but I think the players and Christian know them at least as well from other leagues than the Swedish one, says Jonas Wille.

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