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01.03.2016, 09:18
Lunde returns for EHF EURO qualifiers
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PREVIEW: When Norway meet Romania in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, head coach Thorir Hergeirsson almost sticks to all the players who won the World Championship in December
 

Lunde returns for EHF EURO qualifiers

‘Never change a winning team’ a well-known saying in sport goes, and Norway head coach Thorir Hergeirsson seems to takes this as face value ahead of the upcoming rounds in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification.

When Norway meet Romania on 9 and 13 March in a double-header in Group 1, there will be almost no changes compared to the squad who won the World Championship in Denmark in December last year.

Only left back Emilie Hegh Arntzen from Byåsen Elite is entirely new to the squad which has been nominated.

“We always nominate those players who seem to be able to do the job at the time,” says Hergeirsson. “As there has been no national team activity since December, it has been logical to nominate the same players again,” Thorir Hergeirsson tells ehf-euro.com.

Apart from Arntzen being included in the squad, one more change will actually be made between the two qualification matches.

Lunde returns

It stirred up quite a debate in Norway when experienced goalkeeper Katrine Lunde was not nominated for the World Championship – now she is coming back and will join the squad for the second leg at home.

“We have four goalkeepers at an internationally very high level, Kari Aalvik Grimsbø, Silje Solberg, Katrine Lunde and also Emily Stang Sando, and we would like to test them all regularly.

“Therefore, Katrine Lunde will be joining us for the second qualification match and for the four-nation tournament we are going to play against Germany, Brazil and Spain afterwards,” explains Thorir Hergeirsson, who is still a bit in doubt if right wing Stine Skogrand and right back Amanda Kurtovic will be fit in time from the injuries they are currently nursing.

“I’m not sure of the status of Stine Skogrand, while I expect Amanda Kurtovic to be able to play club matches before our qualifiers, so she should be fit,” he says.

Potential group win at stake

Norway and Romania are topping Group 1 at the moment, with both teams on four points ahead of Belarus and Lithuania who are both on zero.

Hence the matches on 9 and 13 March may already decide the first place in the group.

“We always play with the flag on our chest, no matter what is at stake, and furthermore, the matches against Romania present a very good opportunity to test ourselves against a very strong opponent,” says Hergeirsson about the upcoming meetings with the bronze medallists from the World Championship.

“With Swede Tomas Ryde coaching, Romania have adopted a lot of the Scandinavian way of playing, and that suits the team which consists of a lot of great players with Cristina Neagu being the best among them.”

The squad

Goalkeepers: Kari Aalvik Grimsbø (Györi Audi ETO KC) Silje Solberg (Team Tvis Holstebro) (Katrine Lunde, Rostov-Don joining on 10 March)

Back court players: Mari Molid (Larvik) Emilie Hegh Arntzen (Byåsen Elite) Veronica Kristiansen (FC Midtjylland) Ida Alstad (Györ Audi ETO KC) Stine Bredal Oftedal (Issy Paris Hand) Betina Riegelhuth (Team Esbjerg) Nora Mørk (Larvik) Linn Jørum Sulland (Györ Audi ETO KC)

Line players: Heidi Løke (Györ Audi ETO KC) Pernille Wibe (Issy Paris Hand)

Right wing: Stine Skogrand (Tertnes Elite)

Left wings: Camilla Herrem (Team Tvis Holstebro) Sanna Solberg (Larvik)

Right wing/right back: Amanda Kurtovic (Larvik)


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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