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08.10.2014, 09:52
Three EHF EURO 2014 teams test with the world champions
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PREVIEW: Denmark, Norway, France and Brazil meet in the Women’s Golden League this week
 

Three EHF EURO 2014 teams test with the world champions

The three Danish cities of Holstebro, Esbjerg and Aarhus will see women’s handball at its finest this week.

Denmark, Norway and France, who are all taking part at the upcoming EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia, as well as world champions Brazil face each other in the newest edition of the Golden League tournament which throws off on Thursday, 9 October in Holstebro.

The remaining two playing days are Saturday, 11 October in Esbjerg and Sunday, 12 October in Aarhus.

All three European teams are using the tournament as part of their preparations for the EHF EURO in December.

Pytlick tests new players

For Denmark’s national coach Jan Pytlick, the tournament on the one hand serves as part of the preparations for the EHF EURO, but on the other hand also as part of a long-term plan.

Pytlick has said several times that his current team should reach its peak at the World Championship 2015 in Denmark and at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"We are going to use this tournament partly to make our play work and partly to see as many players as possible in action.

"Therefore, we have nominated a relatively large squad," Pytlick tells ehf-euro.com.

"We are close to the championship now, and we have this tournament and another one in Norway in November (Møbelringen Cup) to prepare, but we are also working on a long-term plan, and this makes is necessary to test as many players as possible – also because you never know when you may run into injuries," he adds.

Hergeirsson facing challenges

For Norway the Women’s World Championship in Serbia last year was their first major tournament in nearly ten years which they finished without a medal after they lost their quarter-final against.

Hence it is the Norwegian players’ declared intention that they want to get back in the medal ranks in December.

However, national coach Thorir Hergeirsson is facing some challenges before going to Hungary in December.

Goalkeeper Katrine Lunde is pregnant, and her Györi Audi ETO teammate, line player Heidi Loke has waved goodbye to the national team – for the time being at least.

For the Golden League, back court player Tine Stange from Larvik is sidelined with an injury, while the two line players, Marit Malm Frafjord and Isabel Blanco, also from Larvik, are not available either.

In Katrine Lunde’s absence, two goalkeepers from the Danish league, Kari Aalvik Grimsbo from Team Esbjerg and Silje Solberg from Team Tvis Holstebro will share responsibilities in the Norwegian goal.

Norway and Denmark are two teams that will see a lot of each other this autumn.

They will meet again at the Møbelringen Cup in Norway in November, and they were also both drawn to Group B at the EHF EURO together with Romania and Ukraine.

Portes tries to bring France back to the top

French national coach Alain Portes is working on bringing France back to former heydays after having ranked ninth at the latest EHF EURO and sixth at the World Championship last year.

He hopes to improve those results at the EHF EURO, where France are in Group D with European champions Montenegro as well as World Championship runners-up, Serbia, and Slovakia.

Portes has had his team in a training camp in Deauville in the north western part of France before travelling to Denmark today, the day before the start of the Golden League.

He has two debutants with him to Denmark, left back Amandine Tissier and right wing Marie Prouvensier, and the latter was particularly happy about her nomination.

"I looked at it (the nomination) with open mouth. Honestly, I was really surprised, as this was always a dream for me," she told the French federation's website.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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