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11.08.2015, 20:43
Reaching the main round would be fine for Norway
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FEATURE: While Norway are dominating in women's senior handball, the ambition is more modest when it comes to the Women's 17 EHF EURO.
 

Reaching the main round would be fine for Norway

At senior level, Norway is among the dominating countries when it comes to national team handball.

This fact was latest emphasised at the EHF EURO 2014, when the Norwegians took the trophy home with them from Hungary and Croatia.

The situation is a bit different when it comes to the possible future stars at senior level.

The Norwegian do not see themselves as being among the favourites at the Women's 17 EHF EURO, which starts in Skopje, the capital of FYR Macedonia, Friday.

“Our goal is to qualify for the World Championship next year. We are in a very strong group with Denmark, Hungary and Slovakia, and we have to be at our best from the start. A good result for Norway would be to reach the main round,” says Vigdis Holmeset.

She is coach of the team together with Kenneth Gabrielsen, who is also in charge of Glassverkets IF, debutants in the qualification tournament for the Women's EHF Champions League in September.

Instead of her own team, Vigdis Holmeset points at two to three other teams as favourites to take the title in Russia. “Denmark and Russia are the strong favourites. I think Hungary come very close,” she says.

Thorough preparations

It is not that the Norwegian preparations for the tournament have not been thorough. On the contrary.

“We started our preparations with planning and physical training in May, where we were together for a week.

“At the end of June, we had a ten day get-together with tactical preparations and further physical training as well as two test matches against club teams.

“From then on, we still had a lot of focus on the physical training, also bearing in mind the long season which awaits the girls after the EURO.

“We also took part in the EYOF (in Tblisi) and used the matches there as match preparation for the EURO,” explains Vigdis Holmeset.

Just like she is content with the preparation, she is also happy with the depth and the versatility of the Norwegian squad.

“The depth of our squad is really good, we have good players in all positions, and they have different qualities, so we feel that we are able to face the various types of defences we are likely to meet,” she says.

The depth of the squad is also part of the reason why she does not want to name any particular key players.

“I do not want to point out any individual players, as they are all good and very equal,” as she puts it.

Development through competitive games

Practically everyone agrees that an important purpose of a U 17 team is to develop future senior national team players, and Vigdis Holmeset sees competitions like the Women´s 17 as important tools in these efforts.

“As I said, success for us will be to qualify for the World Championship, as taking part in championships is important for the development of the players.

“Developing the players is the most important purpose, but in order to achieve this development, it is also important to play some matches where something is at stake,” finds Vigdis Holmeset who will be sending hers and Kenneth Gabrielsen's players onto the court for the first time on Friday at 19.00 local time. The opponent in the Boris Trajkovski arena will be Slovakia.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
 
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