18/12/2020

Dazzling comeback lifts Norway to record 11th final berth

SEMI-FINAL REVIEW: Hosts Denmark were up three goals by the end of the first half, but Norway’s historic comeback helped them seal their 11th final berth with a magical 27:24 win

Nora Mørk again scored the most goals for Norway as they beat Denmark to reach another EHF EURO final. Photo © Jozo Cabraja / kolektiff

There were tears flowing left and right on the court of the Jyske Bank BOXEN in Herning after the final whistle was blown.

Norway burst into tears of joy, while hosts Denmark were in disbelief, after the Norwegian side earned a complicated, yet mind-boggling 27:24 win, leaving the Danish dream of a final berth in tatters.

The Norwegian side is back in the final after a four-year wait and will face title-holders France, while Denmark fight for their first medal at the EHF EURO since 2004 in the bronze medal game against Croatia.

SEMI-FINAL 2

Norway vs Denmark 27:24 (10:13)

  • Denmark, the top defence in the competition, limited Norway to only 10 goals in the first half, the first time since the EHF EURO 2014 final when Norway have scored so few goals in the first half in the competition
  • Norway, who boasted a 66 per cent shooting efficiency throughout the tournament, were limited to 45 per cent in the first half, with Danish goalkeeper Sandra Toft stopping eight shots for a 44 per cent efficiency
  • substituting Silje Solberg with Katrine Lunde between the goal posts, Norway rode a 4:0 unanswered run to tie the game early in the second half, 14:14, after 36 minutes
  • it was the attack that carried the load for the Norwegian comeback, as they improved to 59 per cent shooting efficiency, while scoring 17 goals in the second half
  • Norway have won seven of their 10 previous EHF EURO finals, but have never lost in the four tournaments when they entered the last act with a 100 per cent record

The shapeshifters in Norway’s attack

For a moment, it looked like hosts Denmark were on the brink of breaking their semi-final curse at the EHF EURO, after leading 13:10 at the break. Yet a flawless second half from Norway saw Denmark lose their third semi-final in a row, after the most exciting game of the tournament.

As the Danish defence crumbled, Nora Mørk and Stine Oftedal created goals rather than scoring themselves to facilitate flawless passes to line player Kari Dale, who was named the Grundfos Player of the Match.

With the final against France in their sights, Katrine Lunde, Marit Frafjord and Heidi Løke could win their fifth EHF EURO title, and Norway could secure their eighth trophy in 14 competitions.

Match reaction

Norway coach Thorir Hergeirsson said: “It was a good fight, with a good Danish team. It was a tale of two different halves. In the first part of the game, Denmark played very good in defence, they were very organised and had a very good goalkeeper. The first half was a little bit of car crash for us, we were just a little part of Norway.

"We changed the game at the break, we were ourselves, the defence was better and better, Katrine Lunde was very good in goal. I am pleased, now we look forward to the final.”

Denmark coach Jesper Jensen said: "Everybody is talking about Norway as the best team in the world right now and talking about Norway as some of the best players in the world. They have just overtaken every team that played against them this tournament. We pushed them to an even match until the last two, three minutes, so I'm disappointed, but still proud of the team.”

written by Adrian Costeiu / jh