In this article we’ll take a look at group A who plays in Belgrade.
Norway is in many eyes this groups favorite and favorite to get to the final. But I do not agree that Norway will come so easily to the finals, as many would like it to.
And why is that???
Norway has made some changes in the team since the Olympics in London, there is not a leader on the field more, as previously used in Gro Hammerseng.
There is no one who take the responsibility to guide the Norwegian defense, and that is one of the most important assets for Norway.
Norway is dependent on how they can get their counter-phase in time, which is one of the world’s best.
Without a chief in the defense it will put a lot of pressure on Katrine Lunde Haraldsen in the goal, and she must play at a high level in all matches, and I doubt that she can, if Norway should go all the way.
Another important player is Marit Malm Frafjord, who has been injured for a long period, she can not be 100% fit for fight, Norway need her in the defense, if it should succeed.
Norway’s coach team is not at the same lever as the when Marit Brevikwas head coach. In the past championships they’ve seem paralyzed on the bench for periods. This teams luck has been that the team of players has been so skillfully player for player, and the team play.
Norway is not ther this time, therefore I am not sure Norway will be in a final this time.
Norway opens EM against the host nation Serbia, which certainly completely fills the grandstand, how will Norway handle it, and Norway have played poorly in the opening matches the last championships.
Profiles: Heidi Løke, Linn Jørum Sulland, Katrine Lunde Haraldsen, Linn Kristin Rieghuth Koren.
This year’s host nation. Got the championship after Holland must withdraw.
The rumour tells me that Serbia are up to surprise, as their male team did in January at the European Championship. Where they really surprised everyone.
No doubt that Serbia must contend with Norway to move on to
the mainround with maximum points. It is right and certainly a key battle they go out in the first day. No doubt that Serbia may surprise by having home advantage.
Several of the Serbian player has chosen to seek outside the country’s borders to earn their living, which clearly has enhanced their skills to the national team.
The host nation can fast become one of the finals surprise.
Profiles: Jelena Eric, Andrea Lekic
One of the countries which are not included whenever finals, and the women’s handball is still being built in their home country, and maybe they’ll come back to the old glory with fine traditions of women’s handball.
It is a team which is in Serbia to gain experience. And if they should get much experience at this tournament, they are compelled to victory in their opening match against Ukraine, if they win this one, they are almost in the main round.
Then there are three more matches where they can gather more experience.
I do not have much expectations for the Czech Republic where all players on a daily basis plays at home except two.
The team are by the way under the leadership of my good colleague as previously in Norway, Dusan Poloz (assistant coach, editors remark).
Profiles: Iveta Luzumova, Iveta Matouskova
It is one of the teams that I think are going to travel home early if they do not win their opening game against the Czech Republic.
This team has been stuck in the past when it comes to handball, and are wya behind todays handball. This probably because the reinstated “grandfather”, Leonid Ratner as coach again.
He had left the national team, but were reinstated when things went wrong with the national team.
Profiles: Lullia Managarova
38 year old Søren Jeppesen is a handball coach in the German Bundesliga where he now coaches Raubmöwen in Travemünde. Earlier he was head coach of HSG Wildungen and before that a coach in Iceland, Norway and his home country Denmark.
Søren has also worked in the radio for 10 years where he followed both club teams in Denmark and the national teams at their championships.