Norway vs Russia by 20Legend
Norway managed to win their first game against France (19-17) without their best players in the Golden League Cup. Players like Heidi Loke, Nora Mork and Stine Oftedal are just some of the key players left out of this tournament, simply to let some new and exciting talents show themselves at the international arena. Coach Thorgir Hergeirsson and his staff evaluated the team after the silver medal in Rio.
One of their objects is to get better on shots from distances. It is an important aspect in international handball today, but it has been very few Norwegian players that have the ability to use it at the highest level. Heirgeirsson had therefore thought of this when he decided to take Krisitne Breistol into the team.
After a close first half, Breistol got her debut in the second half with three goals from distance. She is also a tall player (191 centimeters) which makes her a nice asset to the defensive work as well. The team’s defensive performance was also the key to their success in this game as France struggled to get through. Goalkeeper Silje Solberg had also a very strong day at work which helped the team keeping the initiative throughout the game.
Russia stood no chance against a highly motivated Danish team in their first match. They lost 32-22 in a match were they only kept track in the first ten minutes. However, Denmark made eight technical fouls inside the first ten minutes which allowed Russia’s younger players to feel that they had a chance. But the scenario suddenly changed after that when Denmark got hold of their defensive and offensive play.
Russia was not able to keep it up any further with Denmark’s high tempo and strong defensive display. Russia certainly missed their best shooters from long distance as the offensive play got stuck on breaking through a solid defensive opponent.
These two teams are about at the same level tonight in terms of what they want from this tournament. Younger talents are given the opportunity to show themselves that automatically leads to more mistakes and a slower tempo than usual. Norway impressed with their defensive play agaisnt France as well, while Russia clearly missed their goalkeepers in their match agaisnt the best team in this group.
The shots from distance are the main focus for Norway, while this was Russia’s biggest problem against France. I think it will be a match where the tempo variates a lot which should affect the total goals here. I think under 53.5 goals will be the case with two teams that are not aiming for winning this tournament.