In the first match of M18 EHF EURO’s Group B France was better than Norway.
The scorer of the first goal in the match was France’s Sadou Ntanzi. Until a one-minute break in the 14th minute, France kept the lead despite Norway’s effort to tie. Thanks to Alexandre Christoffersen Blonz, Norway took their first lead in the game just before Jensen Johnny called a time out. France lost their concentration for a second and Norway side used the opportunities that followed fouls and lost balls to increase the lead (7:11) ten minutes before the last whistle of the first half. Four minutes France had two players more in the game and took the opportunity to tie and take the lead thanks to Drevy Paschal who scored penalty shot. Just 30 seconds before the end Norway’s Henning Lea Knutsen was precise from the seven-meter line for the fourth time and both teams entered the second half with the same number of goals (14:14).
August Strobugt opened the second half with a goal for Norway. In this exciting opener in Koprivnica, spectators enjoyed some great and thrilling actions on both sides as well as key saves by Andre Bergsholm Kristensen, Charles Bolzinger and Loick Spady. France and Norway kept everyone on their toes until the very end but France took their first points at M18 EHF EURO 2018.
Top scorer on France side was Sadou Ntanzi with seven goals while Viktor Petersen Norberg scored six for Norway.
Best France’s player was Drevy Paschal and on Norway’s side Andre Bergsholm Kristensen.
France’s head coach Bourgeais Pascale: The difference was one goal. It was really difficult to play in the same rythym, especially because of the warmth and the fact that our team is really new and we maybe lack confidence. For us, we need to improve, and I’m sure we can, but I am not sure we can beat everybody.
Sadou Ntanzi: I think at the end it was very important to play well for us because that’s the time you gain an advantage. It came down to details, and we did some things better than Norway which gave us the win. It was very difficult, and we managed to play a terrific match. However, we need to make less mistakes so we can progress further in the competition, win more matches and the entire competition.
Norway’s head coach Jensen Johnny: I think it was the crunch, we were ahead in the last minutes, but we missed a good chance to go up by 3. We missed a penalty and a counter-attack and we weren’t sharp enough in crunch time. We played a good match, until the last five minutes.
August Strobugt: We played well, but as the coach said, the last five minutes were important and we made some bad mistakes. France are a good team and they took advantage of that. One thing we have to improve is the focus in the last few minutes, and we will do better in the tournament.
Group B, Round 1:
France : Norway 30:29 (14:14)