TOKYO / OSLO (VG) (Norway – France 32-29) The Norwegian handball boys were on the verge of losing the lead against France, but they got the victory. Now they are ready for the quarterfinals of the Olympics.
1 in 5Photo: Bjorn Steinar Delebekk
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The Norwegian men’s handball team came into the match against France with two losses in four games in the bag, and they really had the knife to the throat to advance from the group stage at the Olympics. France, meanwhile, had won all four of their matches and were already ready for the quarter-finals as group champions.
It was a thriller, but Norway finally got away with victory and is ready for the quarterfinals of the Olympics.
– It means everything, says Norwegian strings player Petter Øverby to VG.
– At least you can. It depends a bit on how the game goes after us, but it will be good to cheer on Brazil instead of Germany. We take the opponent we have in the quarterfinals, and then we look forward to the tasks that lie ahead.
– I think we look in a completely different way than we have done before in the championship, says Sander Sagosen to VG.
After the match, Harald Reinkind had to take Sagosen after a heated discussion with several French players. The Trøndelag star was clearly upset after a situation in the final seconds.
The sago was knocked down in the last attack and hit the ground at high speed.
Right after the final signal, he and several French players jostled, before the Norwegian gave up with his arms and walked away.
After the game, Sagosen was very satisfied with the victory.
– Norway was the best team. It’s a great team. They played poorly against Germany, but we knew they would give everything they had today, says French player Nedim Remili to VG, who was very upset by the two Norwegian injuries of Magnus Abelvik Rød and Christian O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan has been sent for an X-ray. Physical therapist Harald Markussen says the external thumb joint came loose and he struggled to regain it.
The teams closely followed each other in a fast-paced opening, with only one goal remaining before Sagosen beat Norway 11-9 after just 20 minutes. Kevin Gulliksen increased to a three-goal lead shortly after, before Magnus Gullerud made it 13-9.
Folkebørsen: the breakthrough
France quickly closed the gap to 13-12, before Nikola Karabatic finally tied at 14-14. Goals from Sagosen and Elverum player Luc Abalo late in the first half made it 15-15, before Norway had a chance for a penalty in the final second of the round. For the fourth time in the first round, Norway missed a penalty, this time at Gulliksen.
The penalty shootout crisis was immediately unraveled in the second half, when O’Sullivan scored Norway’s fifth penalty of the game even before the minute was up in the second half. The same man scored another penalty five minutes later when he tied at 19-19.
O’Sullivan had to leave with injury in the 38th minute, but then Sagosen took responsibility from the penalty spot and tied at 20-20.
– I have not received much information. I think the thumb was out of joint, they also had trouble getting it back, Christian Berge tells TV Norway about O’Sullivan’s injury.
Norway moved up to a two-goal lead to 23-21, but France returned to 24-24. From there, Norway moved up to a three-goal lead after goals from Sagosen on penalties and two from captain Bjarte Myrhol.
– I’m a goal hungry guy, Myrhol jokes with TV Norway after the match.
They held that lead for a while, but just minutes from the end of the match, there was only one goal separating the teams. From there, Norway returned to sailing and won by three goals in the end.
The quarterfinals are played on Tuesday.