Press release
Paris - January 27, 2017

Norway edge Croatia to make to first ever final

One year ago, Croatia defeated Norway to take bronze at EHF EURO 2016, and tonight Norway avenged this loss and their failed Olympic Games qualification to take a spot in their first ever gold medal match. In a sensational game, we had to go to extra-time to settle the score (28:25).

 

In the aftermath of France making it to the final after beating Slovenia (31:25), the Scandinavian team - who received a spot at France through means of a wild card – made it to their first ever final by beating Croatia Friday tonight. Sander Sagosen & Co. will now attempt to deprive France of a sixth world title. 

Veteran Myrhol sinks extra-time winner

After an extremely low-scoring opening few minutes, it was Croatia who took an early lead with goals from Horvat, Kontrec and captain Duvnjak (4:1, 11’). If you were going to judge the game from the opening 15 minutes, one would be lead to think that Croatia were in for a comfortable evening, but a 5:1 run netted by Bjornsen and Hansen gave Norway their first lead at 7:6. When Bjornsen netted his fourth on the back of a further 4:0 run, Norway found themselves 11:8 up. Croatia pulled two back before Gullerud closed out the half 12:10.

The second half was a cagey affair with both sides exchanging lead several times. Sagosen started to find his feet and with his third of the half, the sides were level at 18:18 (49’). When Tin Kontrec netted in the 55th minute, Croatia opened up a two-goal lead (22:20, 55’). With only 60 seconds on the clock Sagosen pulled it level (22:22) once again. And with the clock run down Musa of Croatia was dragged down inside the area leaving winger Horvat with the chance to win it for Croatia, but sensationally Bergerud in the Norway goal pulled off a save as the Croatian bench dropped to their knees and we headed to extra-time.

Croatia ran up a two-goal lead thanks to Mamic and Horvat (24:22. 62’), a 4:1 run for Norway sensationally turned everything on its head again (26:25). A red card for Stepancic gave space for two more Norway goals topped off by Norway handball veteran Bjarte Myrhol, his goal sends Norway to their first ever final - it finished 28:25. Best Player of the Match was awarded to goalkeeper Torbjorn Bergerud and he spoke after the match: “I can’t speak it’s just amazing to be in the final!”

Norway looking for revenge and first title

Norway’s rise to the top at this tournament may be a surprise to some, however, they were just as surprising at the EURO 2016 in Poland where they made it to the semi-final beating France en route (29:24). On the back of this fourth place finish the Scandinavian side were offered a Wild Card by the IHF after losing in qualification to Slovenia. They have since honoured this by finishing second in Group A, before brushing side FYR Macedonia in their eighth-final (34:24), Hungary in quarters (31:28) and most impressively Croatia in the semi-final (28:25) after a thrilling extra-time. On Sunday, Christian Berge’s men now play the only team to beat them on their run to top, France (31:28). The final of the 25th IHF Men's Handball World Championship will be held on Sunday 17:30 in the AccorHotels Arena.

 

Calendar: 
28th January: Bronze medal match (20:45 CET)
29th January: Final (17:30 CET)

Register in the press area of the event website: http://www.francehandball2017.com/en/press-room-access/

Pictures free of rights available here 

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