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13.10.2014, 12:17
Nothing but ’positive problems’ for Denmark and Norway
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TOURNAMENT REVIEW: The Golden League in Denmark proved that Denmark and Norway have a pool of talented players to choose from ahead of the Women’s EHF EURO 2014, while French coach Alain Portes seems to have more work ahead of him.
 

Nothing but ’positive problems’ for Denmark and Norway

Denmark have won Golden League in Denmark the past weekend despite an inconsistent performance in the opening match against France which they lost 22:19, because what followed was a 28:24 win against world champions Brazil and a 26:22 win against Norway in which the Danes bounced back from two five-goal deficits.

Norway finished second with France in third position, while Brazil came in last.

However, more important than the results was the performance feedback the three EHF EURO participants received two months out of the final tournament in December in Hungary and Croatia.

Pytlick with many options

Partly based on the performances in the qualification matches, many people were worries about the Danish defence.

These worries now seem to turn out to be pretty unnecessary,  as the Danish defence did a god job in the better part of all the three matches.

Instead problems in the attack were revealed in the Danes’ opening match against France.

After Denmark had been pretty much in control most of the way, the hosts were unable to score for the last nine minutes which meant that France with five consecutive goals changed a 17:19 deficit into a 22:19 win.

The Danish performance improved considerably in the second match against Brazil, particularly in the first half, where the Danish attacking play was fluent and efficient, and unlike the first match, the Danes held on to their lead despite some difficulties in the second half.

In the last match against Norway Denmark not only showed fine attacking and defensive play for great parts of the game. The also showed great moral and fighting spirit.

On two occasions did the hosts catch up with a Norwegian five goal leads – at 10:5 in the first half and at 17:12 at the beginning of the second.

The last minutes of the match turned into a fine show from the Danes, who changed a Norwegian 21:20 lead into a 26:22 win.

Ahead of the tournament, national coach Jan Pytlick stated that he wanted to test as many players as possible, and the tournament proved that he has many players to pick from, once he nominates his squad for the EHF EURO - maybe even more than he thought.

Even with key players like right back Line Jörgensen and line player Mette Gravholt out with injuries, his team was able to maintain a high level against world class opponents.

"We have seen three matches, in which Denmark have defended very well, but there is still something to work with.

"We got the chance to test some players who are not so used to playing matches like this, but we still have to improve all around.

"We mainly practice our 6:0 defence, but we also have to train the aggressive defence formations," Jan Pytlick told TV2.

Promising Norwegian team

When it comes to Norway, there were worries about the absence of pregnant goalkeeper Katrine Lunde and line player Heidi Løke who has decided to take a break from the national team.

However, very much like with Denmark, it seems that people can forget their worries.

Apart from a shaky first half in their opening match against Brazil, the team under national coach Thorir Hergeirsson played a fine tournament.

First they turned the game against Brazil into a 31:27 win, and in the second match, they left France without a chance and won 23:15.

In their final match against Denmark, the Norwegians were also dominating for great parts, until an improving Danish team took the win at the end.

Thorir Hergeirsson will be particularly encouraged by the fact that Kari Aalvik Grimsbo and Silje Solberg did a great job in goal in Katrine Lunde’s absence.

"I think we have played three good matches, in which our defence has been okay and so have our counter attacks.

"We had some problems in the established attacking play, but we have proven that we have a strong team, especially when we managed to increase our pace," back court player Ida Alstad told TV2.

Hard to judge France

France were a bit difficult to judge in this tournament as the team was hit by several injury problems.

Among the players who were missing, star playmaker Allison Pineau was one of the most prominent names.

However, the French defence did not seem to be handicapped by the injury problems.

This was proven in their opening match against Denmark, in which the French team managed to keep the Danes from scoring at all in the last nine minutes.

It was also attacking shortcomings more than defence problems which led to the clear 23:15 defeat to Norway in the second match, and national coach Alain Portes’ strong and flexible defence also proved its values in the 26:26 draw in the closing game against Brazil.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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