In the second round of the Main Round Group II in Nancy, Norway met the so far unbeaten Netherlands with the desperate need to win to keep the semifinal hopes alive. On the other hand, Netherlands had a seemingly easier task for the last two matches remaining from the Main Round: they needed one point to ensure the places in the semifinals, and taking this one point against Norway wasn’t the easiest way for the Dutch team. Norway proved right from the first moments that they need those tickets to Paris: they started with a convincing 4-0 and with a great performance from experienced goalkeeper Katrine Lunde. Nycke Groot was able to play after her injury suffered against Romania and she was in the starting lineup, but she was rested by Helle Thomsen later on – she will be needed more in the remaining matches. After the Netherlands came closer in the middle of the half (5-7), Norway turned to a higher speed again and in no time, they were out of the Dutch sights (7-15). Handball lovers were probably expecting a spectacular handball show from two of the best teams of the competition, still it was just Norway’s show this time. The 8-goal lead at halftime didn’t promise a nail-biter for the second half either.
And it was as it was expected after the first half. The Netherlands had no chance against the running Norwegian locomotive, and the Dutch team didn’t put unnecessary efforts in the match. In the 40th minute, the difference grew to two digits (11-21), and the only question remaining for the last 20 minutes was if the silver medalists of the last edition could stay inside the 10-goal margin or not. In the last minutes of the game, there was even no chance for the Dutch girls to avoid the two-digit difference in the end: Norway won 29-16 and kept the semifinal hopes alive. The Netherlands still need to get one point in their last match against Germany in the last round, but on paper, it seems to be an easier task than to be able to stop this Norway fighting for survival. Norway will need to defeat Spain to qualify, and if so, they will still need to wait for the results of the other matches.
EHF EURO 2018 – Main Round Group II – Round 2
Netherlands – Norway 16-29 (7-15)
Netherlands: E. Polman 4(1), D. Amega 2(1), M. Freriks 2, A. Malestein 2, M. Smeets 2, Ch. Rozemalen 1, K. Dulfer 1, L. Knippenborg 1, L. Abbingh 1
Norway: M. Jacobsen 5, H. Reistad 4, S. Oftedal 4(1), M. Aune 4, Sa. Solberg 3, C. Herrem 2, K. Brattset 2, V. Kristiansen 2, E. Arntzen 2, H. Löke 1
Penalties: 2/2 ; 1/2
Suspensions: – ; 6 minutes
Player of the match: Katrine Lunde (Norway)