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26.05.2016, 11:43
Norway forced to play decisive EHF EURO qualifiers without Løke
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NEWS REPORT: World-class line player Heidi Løke will miss Norway's matches against Belarus and Lithuania, however, while coach Hergeirsson deems the matches difficult, he also sees opportunities arising through Løke's injury
 

Norway forced to play decisive EHF EURO qualifiers without Løke

Norway will have to play their two final two Women's EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers without Heidi Løke. The experienced line player sustained a foot and a ligament injury during training on Monday with her club Györi Audi ETO KC.

The injury not only sidelined her for Györ's national championship win, which they secured with a 27:21 away win against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria on Tuesday, but also for 's two final matches in the Women's EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, against Belarus (1 June) and Lithuania (4 June).

It is expected that Løke will need four to six weeks to recover. “Heidi´s injury means that we have one world class player less in our team,” says Norway head coach Thorir Hergeirsson.

“However, it also means that other line players will get the chance to show their potential, and it gives us the opportunity to test some alternatives .” Hergeirsson has nominated Vilde Morten Ingstad from Oppsal as Løke's replacement.

Norway currently top Group 1 with six points, however second ranked Romania, the only team to have beaten Norway in this campaign, have six points as well.

Norway need one more win to qualifiy for the final tournament in Sweden, but they will need to win both matches to secure the first rank in their group and thus a more preferable seeding for the draw on 10 June in Gothenburg.

One game at a time

Despite the facts that Norway are the current European champions and world champions Hergeirsson does not expect this task to be easy at all.

“A lot of people are already talking about the Olympics, but before that, we have these two important qualifiers on which we have to focus at first, and when I gather the squad Monday next week, we will not be thinking of the Olympics at all.

“We have to stay humble and focused, and we have to take one game at a time, maybe even one half at a time, or even one attack and one defence phase at a time,” says Hergeirsson.

He expects his team's last two qualifiers to be difficult, in particular the away match against Belarus on 1 June.

“Belarus have a rather strong team with several good players. They have developed considerably in men's handball in recent years, and lately their women's handball has also made great progress.

“They kept Romania on a short leash at home in October when they only lost by two goals (25:23) so we should really be aware of them.

“Lithuania also have a good team. We did not play a particularly good game away against them back in autumn (28:21 for Norway) so there is definitely room for improvement,” says Thorir Hergeirgsson.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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