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Photo: Uroš Hočevar

Norway better than Romania in the final round of Group B

The last match in Group B in Koprivnica was between Norway and Romania.

Romania’s Daniel Pop was precise from the seven-meter line for the first goal in the game. Because of fast actions on both sides, by the end of the third minute, the result was 2:3 and Romania was in lead. Their new three-goal series forced Norway’s Anstein Engravslia to call a time out. In the first 15 minutes, Romania’s goalkeeper Dan Andrei Lazar had key saves which took some pressure off his teammates when it came to attacks. Norway’s suspension didn’t help their defence, but Andre Bergsholm Kristensen’s saves did. Fast pace, precise shots and superb key saves by their goalkeeper resulted in Romania’s domination in the first half as well as a two-goal lead at the end of the first 30 minutes (14:16).

First actions of both teams in the second half resulted with new goals and a strong start (16:17). Andre Bergsholm Kristensen’s saves and captain August Storbugt’s goal brought a tie, but Romania didn’t waste a second to secure a new lead. In comparison to the first half, Norway were faster and more aggressive but pulling the goalkeeper out because of a suspension allowed Romanian goalkeeper Lazar to score and made Norway’s coach Engravslia call a one-minute break in the 45th minute. Norway’s four-goal series resulted in a new wave of anticipation as it forced Romania’s head coach Jordi Giralt Alberich to call a time out because of a new tie (26:26) in the 55th minute. Just a minute later, Tobias Grondahl scored for Norway’s retake (27:26). Jorg Gjermundnes’s goal for 28:26 just 50 seconds before the end of the match was loudly greeted by Norway fans at the stands. Alexandru Ghivil’s ball in Norway’s net brought a new hope, but Viktor Petersen’s shot brought Norway their first win (29:28) at M18 EHF EURO 2018.

Norway’s best player was August Storbugt and Romania’s was Eduard Iordachi.

Top scorer for the winners was Alexandre Christoffersen Blonz with five goals and for Romania, Eduard Iordachi scored six.

Jordi Alberich Giralt, Romania coach: I think we showed everybody that we are working very well. In this match, we committed too many mistakes in the most important moments and we need to learn from that in the future. This was a great experience for my players, but now we need to fight again in the following part of the competition. I hope we continue at this high level.

Eduard Iordachi, Romania player: In the last ten minutes, we had problems in attack. We simply couldn’t find good opportunities to shoot from decent positions. Their goalkeeper got some easy saves, and it was, unfortunately, the end for us.

Anstein Engravslia: Norway coach: It was very important to take 2 points today. I think the first 20 minutes today was our worst in the whole tournament, but also in the previous few months. I’m proud of my guys, especially when we turned to 5-1 in defense. We showed great mentality to close the gap, great comeback of my players. I’m very proud of my boys, this is how we want to play handball. We want to play good defense and use counter-attacks, that’s our best weapon. The last 10-15 minutes, they showed that.

August Strobugt, Norway player: Romania was really good today. At the start, they were difficult to handle. I think we had a great second part of the game and I’m happy that we won. The last 10 minutes were probably the best handball we have played. As the coach said, we played good in defense and used fast counter-attacks.

Group B, Round 3:
Norway – Romania 29:28 (14:16)


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