Four matches and four victories. This was the ratio for the representation of Norway and Russia. On Monday evening, the two unbeaten teams met at the end of the preliminary round and they were to decided about the first place in the Group C. Russia’s handballers can now enjoy from the victory and having leading status.

It wasn’t the best day for the players from Norway. However, at first it didn’t look bad –  after nine minutes there was a draw on the scoreboard (6:6). Later, however, the Russians took over the control over the game. The Norwegians made a lot of mistakes in the attack – they were inaccurate, and this caused a lot of losses. Their rivals have made a big contribution to it because they had extremely strong defense line.

Handballers from Scandinavia had to work hard to score every goal, and meanwhile the advantage of their opponents grew to eight.

In the second half the meeting was more even, but the advantage gave the Russians comfort. The Norwegians bravely fought to minimize losses, but ultimately they lost.

NORWAY – RUSSIA 28:34 (13:20)

Norway: Skogrand, Finneide – Oyerhamn 1, Hove 2, Kjolholdt 4, Deila T. 5, Svele 4, Deila L., Eiriksson, Figenschau 2, Morch 2, Novak 6, Moen 1, Hansen 1, Sendi, Arnesen

Russia: Kolesnikova, Vereshchak, Karabutowa – Cherniaeva 4, Mikhaylichenko 6, Sheina 1, Sinelnikova 1, Krakhmaleva, Turusina 3, Skivko 1, Maslova 6, Sidnina 1, Kirdiasheva 1, Levchina 5, Mukhina 4, Smirnova 1


Knut Ove Joa, head coach of Norway: Russia was more effective in the shooting than us. They had really good goalkeepers. We didn’t manage to take opportunities the way they did. That was the most problematic thing in this match.

We are ready to duel with everyone. Match with Spain will be difficult for us. Russia also was a good team and the only difference between us was effective in shooting, so we are ready to next game. If we shoot better we would win because just in first half we had fifteen shoots missed.

Tatiana Berezniak, assistant of the head coach of Russia: I want to thank whole team, because they prepared really well for this match. Girls were properly mobilized. They played well in all positions, they fought for each other. It’s a secret how we prepare for a match against Tunisia. We will analyze all materials about our rivals and we will try to do our best to prepare ourselves as well as possible.

Aneta Szypnicka, photo credit: PRESSFOCUS/ZPRP