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04.12.2014, 10:58
Björndalen plays down Norway's chances
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INTERVIEW: Ida Björndalen has rather modest expectations regarding her own and Norway’s chances at the EHF EURO 2014
 

Björndalen plays down Norway's chances

Norwegian rightback Ida Björndalen Karlsson did not have much time to settle in after she received a more or less a last-minute nomination for the EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia.

When right back Linn Jorum Sulland sustained a foot injury at the Golden League last weekend, which will see her missing the EHF EURO, Bjärndalen was next in line.

"I almost had my bags packed for a training camp in Egypt with my club," explained the 31-year-old right back who plays for the current number one in the Danish league, Team Esbjerg.

Instead of flying to Egypt she had to rush to Norway in time for the team’s last Golden League match against Serbia.

"It was rather hectic, as I did not have time to get much sleep the night before going to Norway to play against Serbia.

"I had to leave from Denmark already at 5.30, but it really went okay, and in the meantime, I have had two training sessions with the team, so I feel that I begin to have a grip on things.

"It is an advantage for me that I was also part of the team two years ago (at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia) as most of the players and the way we play are pretty much the same," Björndalen tells ehf-euro.com.

"I wasn’t really surprised to be nominated as I knew I was first in line if Sulland got injured, but in a way I’m surprised to be back, as I had actually not really expected to get back in the national team again.

"Of course, it is a sad background  but I will simply have to do my best and contribute with what I can," says Björndalen who is very realistic about her role in the team.

Considering Nora Mork’s impressive performances this autumn, especially for her club Larvik in the Women´s EHF Champions League, Björndalen knows that she will mainly be the substitutefor Mork.

"I really do not expect to play all that much, and I did not play much in Serbia either, but I have some qualities I can contribute when needed.

"While Nora is fast and good at breaking through a defence, I’m bigger and can come with my shot from the distance," says Björndalen who is looking forward to playing with Heidi Loke again.

The experienced line player from Hungarian double Champions League winners Györ Audi ETO KC recently made herself available to the national team again.

"Not only is she a very sweet girl, she is also one of the absolutely best line players in the world, and among other things, this means that she creates a lot of extra space for us backcourt players," says Björndalen who is not particularly worried about missing pregnant goalkeeper Katrine Lunde.

"Of course, she is one the world’s best goalkeepers, but I think that Kari (Aalvik Grimsbo) and Silje (Solberg) have done very well in the test matches, so I'm not sure that the handicap will be that big."

Expecting tough competition

Usually Norway are going for gold in major tournaments, but after losing the final at the EHF EURO 2012 to Montenegro after double extra time and after finishing fifth at the World Championship last year, the Norwegians are more cautious this time.

"I think it will be a very equal European Championship this time. We are in a tough preliminary group," she says, referring to Group B in which Norway’s opponents will be Romania, Ukraine and Denmark.

"The main round group, for which we aim, looks to be just as tough.

"Of course, our aim is to get medals of some kind. It always is, but it will be tough this time."


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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