Gritty Norway stop Spain’s record unbeaten streak
Norway have been looking for 24 years for a win against Spain, a team they lost against in the last 11 matches. They finally snapped that streak with a 27:23 win, blowing the group II standings wide open, with only one game to go.
It also meant that Spain’s record 17-game unbeaten streak at the EHF EURO, the largest ever in the competition, is now over, and the race for the two semi-finals berths from group II will go until the final whistle.
Spain vs Norway 23:27 (11:14)
- Spain’s last loss at the EHF EURO came exactly four years ago, on 23 January 2018, 26:31, against Slovenia. Since then, the ‘Hispanos’ won 16 games and drew another in the longest-ever unbeaten streak in the competition
- Norway’s left wing Sebastian Barthold, the Grundfos Player of the Match, was once again the team’s top scorer, with six goals. He has jumped to third place in the top goal scorer standings, improving his overall tally to 38 goals
- once again, Spain’s attack, with the second-lowest overall efficiency at the EHF EURO 2022 of 59 per cent, was the main reason behind the loss, posting the same efficiency
- by scoring Spain’s seventh goal in the game, right back Jorge Maqueda helped his team become the first in the EHF EURO history to score 3,000 goals
- neither Spain nor Norway are safe at the moment and both sides hold their destiny in their hands before the final round, scheduled for Tuesday in Bratislava
Norway finally break the curse against Spain
It takes a lot to beat Spain, regardless of the changes made by the reigning champions in their roster after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last summer. It took even more for Norway, who lost the past 11 games against Spain and did not beat them since 1998.
But the Scandinavian side did it once again their own way, not relying heavily on Sander Sagosen, who only played for 32 minutes and scored four goals, but rather on their amazing depth, with back Erik Toft once again surprising the Spanish defence with his powerful shots.
Not all is lost for Spain, who can still progress to the semi-finals from first place in the group. They need Sweden not to lose against Norway in the last match of the group and to draw with or beat Poland.
In preparing for that match, coach Jordi Ribera will surely have plenty on his plate in the next days, with the main problem being Spain’s attack. Their efficiency was once again disappointing, and their output was the lowest so far in this tournament, with 23 scored goals.
It was a perfect match for us. This 24 years since the last victory against Spain was big for media, but we did not have it in our heads during the match. We only wanted to win. The defence and our goalkeeper were brilliant today.
It is a sad day for us – but when you are unbeaten for four years and have such a long series of victories, this shows the great level of Spanish handball. Of course, we all did not want this to happen tonight, but we played against Norway, one of the best teams in the world. They definitely deserved to win, as they caused so many difficulties to us.