FEATURE: The semi-final at the European Beach Handball Championships is the goal for the Norwegian men as well as well as for the women’s team.
Norwegians look for place in top four at Lloret 2015
The semi-final. Neither Eskil Berg Andreassen, coach for Norway’s women’s beach handball team, nor his men’s team counterpart, Kjetil Lundeberg stagger, hesitate when they are answer, what their goal is at the upcoming European Beach Handball Championships in Lloret de Mar (30 June to 5 July).
"Our preparations have been a bit up and down due to some injuries and some changes in our team, but I think we are well prepared,” says Andreassen.
"We are in a tough group in which many teams actually have a chance to play for the top rankings.
"Compared to the championship two years ago, Denmark are no longer there, and that may mean that Croatia will be back in the race for a top position.
"I tend to see Hungary and ourselves as the other favourites in that group,” he says about his team’s preliminary group in which the other teams are Ukraine, Spain, Sweden, Montenegro and the Netherlands.
"Our first aim is, of course, to progress from our group with as high a ranking as possible. We are used to competing for medals at major championships, and this time should be no exception.
"So we definitely go for the semi-final at the very least," says Eskil Berg Andreassen.
Two years ago at Randers 2013 Norway won bronze, following a 2:1 victory in the match for third place against Ukraine.
Impossible is nothing
Kjetil Lundeberg, who is in charge of the Norwegian men, sounds almost as optimistic as his colleague at the women’s team.
"We have had some great preparations, and our team is almost the same as it was in Denmark two years ago, so experience speaks in our favour," he says.
"Our group is tough, but not impossible. We are a bit in doubt about what Serbia will come with, but we know Russia and Hungary well after just having played against them.
"I expect Switzerland to be a bit stronger than they used to be, while Italy are probably on the same level as we knew them," he analyses.
"After the preliminary round, we will simply have to take it from there. Our goal is the semi-final. No doubt about that."
The Norwegian squads will be nominated after the Norwegian championships which are going to be played in Sandefjord from the 19 to 21 June.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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