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01.09.2016, 11:17
Ms 100 per cent: Kari Mette Johansen rocks the EHF EURO 2006 Final
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HEROES OF THE FINAL: Kari Mette Johansen was on fire in the Women’s EHF EURO 2006 Final, scoring nine goals from nine attempts to help secure Norway their third EHF EURO gold
 

Ms 100 per cent: Kari Mette Johansen rocks the EHF EURO 2006 Final

Russia may have defeated Norway at the semi-final of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but recent history has often seen Norway leave the court victorious.

One of those occasions is featured in the first of ehf-euro.com’s ‘Heroes of the final’ series. The final of EHF EURO 2006 in Sweden saw defending champions Norway defeated Russia 27:24 in front of 5,000 spectators in Stockholm.

“I remember that we expected a tough match, and that was exactly what we got, but we were the slightly better team,” remembers Kari Mette Johansen, a player who definitely made her mark in this game.

The left wing, who was 27 at the time, scored nine of her 41 tournament goals in the final – and needed no more than nine attempts to do. It was one of several factors that saw “Ms 100 per cent” named to the championship’s All-star team.

“That final was a big success for me personally as well as for the team. It was a great honour to be nominated for the All-star team among so many great players, but to me, it will always be most important how you perform with the team.

“A nomination for the All-star team wouldn’t have been much of a consolation if we had lost the final,” she says with a smile.

Undefeated throughout the tournament

Norway went through the EHF EURO 2006 in undefeated fashion, winning most of their matches clearly. In fact, they only felt pressure a couple of times, including during the final.

“We had a very strong team at the time, and the players functioned very well together. However, Russia were also strong in that tournament, as were France (Norway’s opponents in the semi-final whom they beat 28:24).

“Another factor, which played a part in our success, was the fact that the tournament took place just across the border. We had a lot of Norwegian fans with us to support us,” she says.

Kari Mette Johansen ended her national team career after Norway’s Olympic gold at the London 2012 Games. Overall she came first at seven major handball championships: Twice at Olympic Games (2008, 2012), once at the World Championship (2011) and four times at EHF EUROs (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010).

At club level she played until 2013, ending her career two years after she had won the Women’s EHF Champions League with Larvik, the club for which she played her entire career.

“Norway can do it again”

These days the 37-year-old works as a job consultant, but she still keeps ties to handball. “Until last year, I was part of board in Larvik, and I’m still often with the girls from the Larvik team,” she tells ehf-euro.com.

Looking ahead to the EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden, Kari Mette Johansen thinks Norway can once again go all the way.

“I would have liked to go to Sweden to cheer for the girls, but I’m set to give birth to my second child in December, when the championship takes place, so I will be watching the games on TV and will be cheering from the sofa instead!

“I’m sure they will at least reach the semi-final, and I also see them having a great chance to go all the way – especially if Nora Mørk and Heidi Løke are performing at their best. We depend quite a bit on those two,” she says.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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