Can the team confirm and repeat the success from the EHF EURO 2016? What would be a success for Norway?
Yes, that is true. The last championship was fantastic for us. I think that it will be important for us to stay focused on the little things we can improve, and to still be hungry for more success. We are still a small nation in the Men’s handball world, but we have proved that we can handle even the strongest teams when we hit our stride. Right now we have not set a goal for this championship, but that will come soon enough.
Until the start of the matches in France, there is not much time left after the last game in the Handball Bundesliga. What is the typical preparation for a major event for ‘Team Norge’?
That’s true. There is not much time to work together before the championship begins. We will use some of our time here in norway with some tough trainings. Then we will go to Sweden and play two games before we depart for France.
France favorite on home court
Norway will meet host France, Poland, Russia, Japan und Brazil in the preliminary round group A in Nantes. What do you know about your opponents so far and how do you rate the other teams? Is France the only favorite in this group?
Yes I would have to agree. France on homecourt will be difficult to beat. But it will also be a great challenge and experience to play them. Regarding the other teams, it is hard to see who is toughest. We have not played Brazil and Japan in recent years, so it is hard to say how we stack up against them. Russia and Poland are teams we have seen a little more of. I think we have good chances against them, but it really depends on who has the best day and which team is in the best shape.
Norway maybe can be 1st or 2nd in the group, but also ranked 4th. How do you rate your team? Where are the strengths, and which weaknesses do Norway has to switch off up to the tournament start?
It’s really hard to say which teams will have the final position in the group, because all of the teams are strong. For us it would be great to get either 1 or 2 place in the group, so that we possibly could get a “weaker” opponent in the playoffs. But i think first and foremost we have to focus on our self, and not so much on the standings.
Who is the favorite for the title?
I would have to give France the favorite stamp, as they play on their own floor. There are however a lot of strong team’s, so it is really difficult to predict. A lot can happen this year.
The first match against Poland will be a real test right at the beginning of the tournament. How to prepare for such a match at the start of a tournament?
Yes the match against Poland will be important. It would be great to get a good start, but last time we lost the first game in the group stage. So it is not the end if that happens. For preparing we have more time before the first game then the other’s. So we will probably use some time to take a look at their new players and what system they now play. But as I said earlier, we always focus on our self the most.