Wednesday, May 18

– I almost have to answer that

Christian Berge referred to the contract until 2025 he has with the Norwegian Handball Association when Viaplay asked if the European Championships in Slovakia and Hungary were his last championship as Norwegian national team manager.

– I almost have to avoid answering that here, I feel. Now I’m very happy for fifth place, and I’ll enjoy the boys with it. I have a contract I relate to, Berge told Viaplay live after the victory against Iceland which secured fifth place and direct place at the World Cup.

Berge has been strongly connected to the coaching job in hard-working Kolstad, which brings in stars such as Sander Sagosen, Torbjørn Bergerud, Magnus Abelvik Rød, Gøran Johannessen and Magnus Gullerud in an attempt that the club hopes will end with the Champions League trophy ending up in Trondheim.

Handball president Kåre Geir Lio says VG Friday that Berge must give a clear answer by February 18 on whether he will lead the national team until 2025 or do something else.

Berge has not wanted to guarantee his future as Norway’s national team manager. General manager Jostein Sivertsen in Kolstad has stated to Address that Berge is always relevant for the Trondheim club, and that they will not hire another coach.

Think Berge will be Kolstad coach

TV 2’s handball expert Bent Svele thinks it’s just a matter of time before Berge takes the coaching job in Kolstad.

– Berge says he relates to the contract, but in the world of sports he has a contract until he no longer has it. I’m quite sure that Berge will train Kolstad, but I do not know when – whether it will be now or in a year or two. It is hard to say when, but he misses standing on the floor daily, says Bent Svele.

KOLSTAD NEXT? TV 2’s handball expert Bent Svele is sure that it is only a matter of time before Christian Berge becomes Kolstad’s coach. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB

Sagosen, Johannessen and Abelvik Rød will not arrive until the summer of 2023.

The Danish handball hero Joachim Boldsen in Viaplay studio has early on been critical of Berge’s communication. He believes the national team manager should have been much clearer in the answers about his own future and the Kolstad job. After Berge’s answer on Friday, Boldsen repeated the criticism – and believes it is time for a change.

– In my universe, it should be his last championship. Not because he has not done a wonderful job. He is the greatest coach in Norwegian national team history, and Norway has made great strides towards the world top, but there is no doubt about where the arrows are pointing. It goes downhill, says Boldsen, and continues:

– There is not a sharp decline, but sometimes there is a need for “input” from a new coach and a new coach needs new challenges. Everyone knows that he wants to work with the players on a daily basis. You can get bored of each other, and that seems to be the case here at times. In my opinion, a new coach is coming in. He will not be fired, but they will find a solution. Kolstad is waiting. It will surprise me extremely if he does not coach Kolstad from 1 July 2022.

MISSES CLEARER ANSWERS: Viaplay expert Joachim Boldsen thinks Christian Berge should have been clearer in his communication.  Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB

MISSES CLEARER ANSWERS: Viaplay expert Joachim Boldsen thinks Christian Berge should have been clearer in his communication. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB

Missed Flensburg stars

After the European Championship bronze in 2020, Norway has ended up off the podium in three championships in a row. In the World Cup a year ago, it was sixth place, before Norway finished seventh in the Tokyo Olympics. On Friday, the handball boys secured fifth place in the European Championships after dramatic extra innings against Iceland.

– You can say that the arrow points a way, but against Sweden it was coincidence that made it not the semifinals. In the other two championships, Norway has been further out. This has guaranteed to be a championship Berge has learned a part from, and Sander Sagosen himself said that he had learned a part. We do not have the width as Denmark, so we can not see again two players who are all the way up there in Magnus Abelvik Rød and Gøran Johannessen, says Svele, who believes that Norway has to develop the seven-on-six game after unsuccessful attempts in EM.

MISSED: Magnus Abelvik Rød (left) and Gøran Johannessen lost the European Handball Championship in Slovakia and Hungary due to injuries.  Photo: Annika Byrde / NTB

MISSED: Magnus Abelvik Rød (left) and Gøran Johannessen lost the European Handball Championship in Slovakia and Hungary due to injuries. Photo: Annika Byrde / NTB

In the Viaplay interview shortly after the match against Iceland, Berge talked about Abelvik Rød and Johannessen being missing in the European Championships, but he is happy with the championship.

– We have done a good tournament. There have been lots of new players who have been given good roles and who have performed at a good level. We have struggled a bit at times as well, especially in the attacking game when we have gone to the bottom too much. It has been challenging not to get enough ball release, but it has been a well-conducted championship that ended with direct qualification for the World Cup, Berge told Viaplay.

Bent Svele believes the championship has got more players started for Norway.

– It is difficult to scold Norway. I tipped them in fifth place before they left. We were uncertain about the teams, and there were lower expectations for Norway. It has started to get a little more breadth in this championship, says Svele, who lists Sander Øverjordet, Erik Toft and Thomas Solstad.

Reference-www.tv2.no

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