“Totally crazy”: Kristensen passes 1,000-point mark for Denmark
Denmark star Line Gyldenløve Kristensen gave the opening day of the EHF Beach Handball EURO 2023 in Nazaré an historic touch. In the 2019 champions’ second match against France, Kristensen scored her 1,000th career point for the Danish national team: “It is nice, but it is not the most important.”
“Really, really? Yeah, I am surprised a bit because I didn’t know that,” says Line Gyldenløve Kristensen when she leaves court 2 at the EHF Beach Handball EURO 2023, after an historic match in which she has passed the 1,000-point career mark for Denmark.
Humble and modest in a post-match interview, it is obvious Kristensen prefers to let her play on the court do the talking. One of the stars of the Danish women’s national beach handball team, she has contributed 21 points to the 2:0 win over France, three hours after scoring nine points in the team’s tournament opener against Italy, also 2:0.
For a prolific scorer like Kristensen, those are no unusual figures – except today, as those 30 points raise her career tally for the national team to 1,014.
Apparently, Kristensen has never counted her points – but the Danish Handball Federation has. According to official DHF statistics, Kristensen arrived in Nazaré on 984 points.
“I am just happy to be with the Danish national team, and have been for so many years,” Kristensen says. “It is very exciting, every year I am here and do my best, so (scoring 1,000 points) is nice, but not the most important. The most important is that we win the games.”
The Danish head coach, Morten Holmen, admits he has also been not aware of his player’s historic feat.
“No, it is just telling me she is a very special beach handball player. She has been with this journey from the start, and now she is standing here,” says Holmen, adding he is “happy that I can stand here when she scores her 1,000th point, that is totally crazy. A big honour, fantastic!”
Kristensen’s impact on the Danish team goes way beyond endlessly scoring points, as her coach explains.
“She can play all the positions in attack, she is very smart, she is a good pivot player, and she is good when matches are going to be close,” Holmen says.
“Line is not the player who shouts a lot, but everybody is just calm with her; they know: play the ball to Line and most of the times she scores some goals.”
I am here and do my best, so scoring 1,000 points is nice, but not the most important. The most important is that we win the games.
The historic goal has come in Kristensen’s 109th official match for Denmark, which makes for a stunning average of over 9.3 points per match.
Kristensen, who turned 36 last month, is playing her seventh EHF Beach Handball EURO, having appeared in each European Championship since 2009 – except for 2015, when Denmark did not take part.
From her 1,014 points, 348 have been scored at the EURO, with 77 points from the 2017 edition in Zagreb still being her personal best. Two years later, she contributed 51 points to Denmark’s run to gold in Stare Jablonki. And in 2021, she scored 75 and was named MVP.
Kristensen was also part of the Danish team that took silver at back-to-back World Championships in 2010 and 2012.
Playing indoor as a centre back for her hometown club Holstebro FH, Kristensen has been Player of the Year in Denmark’s second division three times in the past four seasons, and she was the league’s top scorer with 163 goals two years ago.
But after all those years, her love for beach handball is just as big as it was when she started playing in the national team 14 years ago.
“It is just the set-up and, of course, the sports. It is very fun and I like it. I am just happy to be here,” says Kristensen, adding she has seen beach handball develop massively throughout the years.
“The first time I was with Denmark, we were not so good. But we became better and better every year, but every team does the same,” says Kristensen, whose eyes are rather on another gold medal with the team than her own personal points tally.
“I am here to win,” says Kristensen, who will face defending champions Germany in Denmark's last preliminary round match on Thursday. “It is not important for me to score. We just want to win our games.”
photos © Jure Erzen / kolektiff