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06.10.2015, 12:25
Hergeirsson: We still have a team who can win titles
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INTERVIEW: The Norwegian head coach sees still his squad as top
 

Hergeirsson: We still have a team who can win titles

“When our best players are fit and at our disposal, we still have a team to bet the best, and a team who can compete for titles at World Championships and EHF EURO events.”

Those words come from Thorir Hergeirsson, head coach of Norway’s women’s team ahead of the start of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Tournaments.

Those days are long gone, when the reigning champions qualified automatically for the next championship, and therefore Norway - winners of the EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia - will also start their qualification campaign in early October.

In Norway’s case, their first opponents in Group 1 will be Belarus at home on 7 October, followed by an away game against Lithuania four days later.

Romania are the fourth and last team in this group.

“Since the final of the EHF EURO in December last year (in which Norway defeated Spain 28:25), we have not been able to send on our strongest team to recent ties.  

“However, for the upcoming EURO qualifiers we are finally sending the strongest team possible,” finds Hergeirsson.

Hergeirsson welcomes goalkeepers Katrine Lunde and Kari Aalvik Grimsbo back from maternity leave and injury, while it is now right wing Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren’s turn to take maternity leave.

“We have three strong goalkeepers, when they are all fit – Katrine Lunde, Kari Aalvik Grimsbo and Silje Solberg – so we are well covered in that position.

“Of course, there are players, who could have been useful that are not at the national team’s disposal for various reasons, but others have taken over in their place, and I think that the squad we have nominated for qualifiers is still very strong.

“We need to have all our world class players fit and ready to compete at the absolute top level, so I am happy that players like Katrine, Kari, Heidi Loke, Nora Mork, Camilla Herrem and Linn Jorum Sulland are all doing well.

And with Amanda Kurtovic back from injury it seems to be shaping up to be a really great season.

Those players are all crucial for us,” Thorir Hergeirsson tells ehf-euro.com.

Tight schedule means changes in priorities

“However, we have a very tight schedule this autumn, and that means that we will have to change our priorities to a certain extent.

“We cannot just use the upcoming qualifiers simply as qualification matches for the EURO, but also as part of our preparations for the World Championship in Denmark in December.

“Some might say that it would be better to just play some test matches, but I actually see it as an advantage to play some competitive matches – knowing, of course, that we will need to win them in order to qualify for the next EURO,” says the 51-year-old Norwegian coach.

“We are opening our qualification campaign against Belarus, whom we also met in our latest qualification tournament, so we know them rather well.

“They have some very good players in their team, but they should not be too much of a difficult task for us.

“I do not know all that much about Lithuania yet, but they are playing Romania the day after we meet Belarus, so we will get a chance to take a look at them during that match,” says Hergeirsson who is rather content with his team’s qualification group.

“I think it is a good group for us, and obviously a group from which we should be able to qualify.

“However, we will take it one match at a time, so for the time being we will focus on the match against Belarus,” says Thorir Hergeirsson.

Noway's opening Group 1 encounter can be seen live on ehfTV when it throws off at 19:00 (CET) on Wednesday 7 October


TEXT: Peter Bruun / bc
 
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