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01.12.2016, 18:12
A new-look Norwegian squad head to Helsingborg
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TEAM CHECK NORWAY: For the Women's EHF EURO 2016, there are several surprise selections from Norway’s coach Thorir Hergeirsson who will be missing pregnant Heidi Løke in Sweden
 

A new-look Norwegian squad head to Helsingborg

Young players such as Silje Waade, Kjerstin Solaas and Malin Aune are names we will have to get used to, when the ruling European champions Norway enter the Helsingborg Arena to start their EHF EURO 2016 campaign on Monday.

National coach Thorir Hergeirsson has chosen to give the chance to several young players with limited international experience on the cost of some of the more experienced players.

At the same time, Hergeirsson is missing one of his most experienced players, as line player Heidi Løke is out pregnant.

The roster

The main issue for Norway is the fact that Heidi Løke is missing.

The 33-year-old line player from Hungarian Györi Audi ETO KC is pregnant, and this places a huge responsibility on the shoulders of Marit Malm Frafjord, while Vilde Mortensen Ingstad from Danish champions Team Esbjerg will also be carrying some extra weight as backup to Frafjord.

It comes as a big surprise that Thorir Hergeirsson looked past current Women’s EHF Champions League top scorer Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren.

Instead of the 32-year-old Larvik player, the right wing position has been placed in the hands of 23-year-old Stine Skogrand from Danish Silkeborg Voel and 21-year-old Malin Aune from Oppsal who will have her championship debut in Sweden as will Silje Waade, Kjersting Solaas and Malin Aune.

Beside Riegelhuth Koren, other experienced players like goalkeeper Katrine Lunde, back court player Ida Alstad and line player Pernille Wibe have been passed by as well.

The attack

Like so often before, Norway’s attacking play depends a lot on Stine Bredal Oftedal and Nora Mørk.

Oftedal to organise the attack and add speed to it, and Mørk to score the goals from the right back position.

In left back, Veronica Kristiansen, who has had plenty of success by Danish FC Midtjylland this autumn, will need to transfer her skills from the Champions League matches with Midtjylland to the national team, but at least, she has a qualified backup in Emilie Hegh Arntzen from Byasen.

Norway are also very well equipped on the left wing through Camilla Herrem and Sanna Solberg, while we have already mentioned how important Marit Malm Frafjord is at the line in Løke’s absence.

The defence

A solid 6-0 defence in front of reliable goalkeepers has always been the basis for Norwegian success and also the basis for those counter attacks, which are also an essential part of the Norwegian game.

At this EHF EURO, it will mainly be up to Marit Malm Frafjord to tie the defence together, while Kari Aalvik Grimsbø has performed very well in goal for Györ during the autumn as well as for Norway in their preparation matches.
As her backup, Silje Solberg also has important championship experience.

The coach

The 52-year-old Thorir Hergeirsson, awarded Coach of the Year in 2015 certainly does not lack experience.

The Icelander has been in charge of the Norwegian side since 2009, and before that, he was assistant to just as legendary Marit Breivik for eight years.

His tactical skills are probably without equal, and his ability to make his players understand what he wants is also admirable.

The outlook

Several experts in Norway have expressed doubt if Norway can take the title again with their current outfit.

However, similar estimates were uttered ahead of the EHF EURO 2014 as well as the 2015 World Championship, and as we all know, Norway won on both occasions.

There is no doubt that the Norwegian squad for this EHF EURO also contains sufficient quality to be among the contenders for the title, and the players as well as their coach are undoubtedly as ambitious as ever.

The squad

Throrir Hergeirsson has nominated these 16 players for the EHF EURO 2016

Goalkeepers: Kari Aalvik Grimsbø (Györi Audi ETO KC) Silje Solberg (Issy Paris Hand)

Left wings: Camilla Herrem (HC Vardar) Sanna Solberg (Larvik)

Left backs: Veronica Kristiansen (FC Midtjylland) Emilie Hegh Arntzen (Byasen Trondheim) Kjerstin Boge Solaas (Tertnes Elite)

Centre backs: Stine Bredal Oftedal (Issy Paris Hand) Marta Tomac (Vipers Kristiansand)

Right backs: Nora Mørk (Györ Audi ETO KC) Amanda Kurtovic (Larvik) Silje Waade (Byasen Elite)

Right wings: Stine Skogrand (Silkeborg Voel) Malin Aude (Oppsal IF)

Line players: Marit Malm Frafjord (Larvik) Vilde Mortensen Ingstad (Team Esbjerg)


TEXT: Peter Bruun / bc / ts
 
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