For a moment, it looked like France had what it needed to become the third team in hsitory to retain their EHF EURO title.
But history replayed itself: as before, when Norway won the first seven games at the EHF EURO, they went on to win the title.
It was a nerve-wrecking, nail-biting game, handball at its best, with ups and downs, but ultimately Norway sealed their eighth EHF EURO title, after the 22:20 win against France.
France vs Norway 20:22 (10:14)
- Norway used two 4:0 and 5:0 unanswered runs to create a four-goal lead at the break, 14:10, as France’s attacking efficiency dipped to a meagre 42 per cent
- it was goalkeeper Silje Solberg who really did the job, saving nine shots for a 49 per cent saving efficiency in the first half
- French coach Olivier Krumbholz substituted Amandine Leynaud with Cleopatre Darleux between the French posts and Darleux, the Grundfos Player of the Match, duly delivered, sporting a 75 per cent save efficiency in the 50th minute, as French roared back to take the lead, 19:18
- 19-year-old French line player Pauletta Foppa, the youngest player on the court, was the final’s top scorer, with five goals
- the top scorer of the competition, Nora Mørk, scored four goals in this game, but two of them were crucial, inside the last six minutes of the game
- Norway became the first team to win the EHF EURO eight times, while goalkeeper Katrine Lunde, left wing Camilla Herrem and line player Marit Malm Frafjord tie fellow Norwegians Breivang, Linn Kristin Riegelhuth-Koren and Kari Aalvik Grimsbø as the only players with five EHF EURO titles
The Phoenix shines again
Fire and lightning, it was looking exciting when the Norwegian side engaged in a group hug after the final whistle was blown in the EHF EURO 2020 final.
Only two years after their worst result in the competition since 2000, Norway are now back on top and it is a testament of how good this generation is and how they constantly reinvented themselves.
While stalwarts like Katrine Lunde or Heidi Løke might now be on the fringes of this side, Norway duly deserved another title, with an influx of players that took over, like Henny Reistad or Stine Skogrand.
But it was mental strength that truly lifted Norway so high. Down both in the semi-final and in the final, they came back. France limited Norway to only four goals scored between the 31st and the 54th minutes.
Yet Nora Mørk, the embodiment of what Norway brought to the table at the EHF EURO 2020, a comeback after a career-threatening injury, scored two of the last four goals for the Norwegian side to clinch the trophy.
The recipe is there on display every single time, but few can apply it. It is why Norway constantly wins games and tournaments.
Norway coach Thorir Hergeirsson said: "All the players had the hunger to win the tournament and they have really outdone themselves. It was crucial that they could change their game, like against Denmark or France, when they came back, we showed team spirit and focus. It was one of the best wins we ever had.”
French coach Olivier Krumbholz said: “It is a disappointment, but not a big one, because we won the silver medal and I am very proud. Our first half was bad in attack, bad in defence, but after we changed the defence in the second half, everything looked perfect.
"The players were mentally strong and I think the future looks bright for us, as we have a lot of young players who can get better. We had some trouble in our shooting, we missed a lot of shots and it is nearly impossible to beat Norway with such a low efficiency."