(Iceland-Norway 33–34 eeo) With a shot from long range in the very last second, Harald Reinkind saved Norway’s 5th place in the European Championships – and a place in next year’s World Cup finals. The handball boys won a nerve drama with extra innings.
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Norway led comfortably with four goals at the break, but delivered – as against Sweden – a weak second half. Iceland was a few centimeters away from scoring the winning goal from their own half of the field in the last second of the second half after a mistake by Sander Sagosen at the position 27-27.
Sagosen and Harald Reinkind sent Norway in the lead in the first extra round. But the Icelanders had blood on their teeth, but Christian O’Sullivan equalized to 30-30 at the last second.
In the second extra round, Endre Langaas was sent in for his championship debut. The Elverum line missed its first shot and Iceland took the lead. Before Langaas scored on his second shot. The drama continued before O’Sullivan scored and provided Norway with a penalty. Sagosen put the ball in goal and Norway was in the lead one and a half minutes before the end. Janus Dadi Smarason slams the ball into the net.
But Harald Reinkind knocked the ball into the goal via the Iceland goalkeeper at the last second.
A revenge-hungry Norway delivered a good first half. Iceland goalkeeper Viktor Hallgrimsson (203 cm) started with strong saves, but eventually he also struggled against the Norwegian shots.
Sander Sagosen started the round with two goals and five assists. But he eventually left the place to Erik Toft. Elverumsingen again showed his shotgun and scored two goals.
Thomas Solstad took over for corona-infected Magnus Gullerud on the line. He made the right moves, came to five finishes and put four of them in goal. He was followed by Kevin Gulliksen who put three from the right edge while Kristian Bjørnsen rested on the bench.
But the defensive game was Norway’s biggest strength before the break. Vetle Eck Aga dominated again with tackling strength and fast feet. While Kristian Sæverås came out of the round with six saves – two of them on penalties from EC top scorer Omar Ingi Magnusson and Bundesliga top scorer Bjarki Már Elísson.
– A very good first half in most phases, thought Norway’s assistant coach Jonas Wille and thought that there had been “harmony” in the Norwegian attacking game after the collapse against Sweden.
Some of the calm disappeared at the start of the second half. Iceland came one goal behind after Norway conceded five goals in five minutes. But the defense lifted and Sander Sagosen delivered two goals and three assists.
But Iceland kept up. Kolstad-ready Sigvaldi Gudjónsson reduced to 21-23, but Sebastian Barthold touched the Icelander in the inning. After assessing the situation on video, the Spanish judges withdrew the red card. Thus, the European Championship was against the debutant on the left wing.
Alexander Blonz took over the edge and Sander Heieren came in to finish.
But Norway was in trouble. After an unlucky attack ended in a passive equalizer Omar Ingi Magnusson 11 minutes before the end.
Kevin Gulliksen got two chances to secure Norwegian two-goal lead, but had lost the goal completely. After barrier number three in the second half, Kristian Bjørnsen changed the right edge in the final minutes.
Iceland equalized to 25-25 seven minutes before the end. The panic spread in the Norwegian team. It did not get any better that Eck Aga smoked on an expulsion. But Christian O’Sullivan managed to steal the ball from Iceland in the minority and Bjørnsen provided a new Norwegian lead.
But the rhythm was gone. Both O’Sullivan and Reinkind made attacking mistakes. But Iceland’s top scorer Magnusson disappeared for good with injury three minutes before the end.
– A gift package to Norway, said TV3 commentator Daniel Høglund.
At the position 27-27, Iceland coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson took “time out” 40 seconds before the end. But the Icelanders made a mistake and Norway got the chance with 18 seconds left on the clock. Christian Berge took “time out” and threw in a seventh player. But Sagosen missed Solstad’s input.
Elvar Jonsson got the chance to put the ball in the empty Norwegian goal, but the Icelander missed by a few centimeters. Thus extra innings.