Norway: Victory and defeat against Egypt
Two friendly matches against Egypt were the last Norwegian tests on home ground in their preparation for the EHF EURO in Serbia. After a 20:23 defeat, the North Europeans showed their true face in the second encounter when beating the African champions clearly 29:20.
Before travelling to Serbia the Norwegians will have two friendly games at the defending European champions France on 10th and 12th January.
As they were weak in attack, the Norwegians were behind nearly all the time in the first match. After the Egyptians led 10:9 at the break, the hopes of the host rose, when they turned the game at 15:14 – but as the African champions were much more efficient in attack, they won the match 23:20. The defeat was also caused by the frequent player rotations of Norwegian coach Robert Hedin, who gave some playing time to all of his players.
"Our timing in attack was not good enough, but our defence, including our quality goalkeepers, satisfied me," Hedin said.
The defeat gave huge motivation to turn the result 24 hours later. Led by the outstanding Havard Tvedten, who scored ten goals from ten attempts, Norway was well prepared for the Africans.
Thanks to goalkeeper Svenn-Erik Medhus, Norway was in the lead at the break (14:11), when the big Tvedten show started. Assisted by Børge Lund, Tvedten scored extraordinary goals, and his counter attacks were the key to the clear 29:20 victory.
"We played significantly better than the day before, and I am especially pleased by our performance after the break," coach Hedin said.
After this encounter he announced his 18 players squad for the last friendly matches in France, which will be the base for the Norwegian EHF EURO squad – including Bjarte Myrhol, who has recovered completely from cancer, Johnny Jensen, who returned to the national team in November after having quit some years ago, and Einar Riegelhuth Koren, the husband of former World Handball Player of the Year and current World, European and Olympic champion Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren.
The Norwegian squad:
Kenneth Ryvoll Klev (HC Bergischer/GER), Vegard Samdahl (Viking Stavanger HK), Lars Erik Bjørnsen (Drammen HK), Bjarte Myrhol (Rhein-Neckar Löwen/GER), Børge Lund (Rhein-Neckar Löwen/GER), Håvard Tvedten (Aalborg Håndbold/DEN), Erlend Mamelund (Haslum HK), Ole Erevik (Aalborg Håndbold/DEN), Christoffer Rambo (Elverum Håndball), Espen Lie Hansen (Bjerringbro-Silkeborg/DEN), Kristian Kjelling (Aalborg Håndbold/DEN), Svenn Erik Medhus (ØIF Arendal), Magnus Jøndal (Follo HK), Johnny Jensen (Nøtterøy IF), Einar Riegelhuth Koren (Haslum HK), Sondre Paulsen (ØIF Arendal), Magnus Dahl (Paris Handball/FRA), Kent Robin Tønnesen (Haslum HK)
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TEXT: Björn Pazen