The team of Norway
2018 june 28.
Coaches: Vigdis Holmeset, Geir Oustorp
Key players: Mari Finstad Bergum (centre back), Karoline Olsen (left wing)
Qualification information: European qualification tournaments – Group 5 winners
History in tournament: 1977: 7th, 1979: 7th, 1981: DNQ, 1983: 9th, 1985: 5th, 1987: 8th, 1989-1993: DNQ, 1995: 3rd, 1997: 4th, 1999: 7th, 2001: 6th, 2003: 3rd, 2005: 2nd, 2008: DNQ, 2010: 1st, 2012: 8th, 2014: 9th, 2016: 5th
They are two-time Olympic, three-time world and seven-time European champions in the open-age category, but Norway’s Junior and Youth women’s teams have never been able to replicate the success of their older compatriots. Such results speak volumes about the strength of the national squad as a whole, and how it moulds the young players to become part of the fiercest team in women’s handball as they develop. The U20 World Championship provides a perfect opportunity to see how those players are progressing, in what is the last international youth-age competition they will contest.
In 2016, Norway claimed fifth place at the IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship, while the 1998-born generation – who will contest Hungary 2018 – ranked fourth at the Youth (U18) World Championship. At Slovakia 2016, Norway recorded four victories in the group phase, defeating France (who went on to win the Under 19 Women’s European Championship in the summer of 2017), Romania, Kazakhstan and Paraguay. Their only loss came at the hands of Republic of Korea – 25:30 in the opening match.
Second place in Group C was enough to send Norway through to the eight-finals, where they eliminated hosts Slovakia with a 30:19 win, beat Hungary 28:27, but then lost the semi-final 18:27 to Denmark. In a thrilling bronze-medal match versus their group phase opponents Korea, Norway were defeated 30:32, and therefore left Slovakia empty-handed. The one consolation was that Guro Nestaker was named best defender in the All-star Team.
At Hungary 2018, the focus is long-term, with the primary goal to gain valuable experience for the players in both international competitions and cooperation – aiming for as many of the squad to make their way into the ranks of Norway’s senior team in the future. In terms of results, the goal is to reach the semi-finals.
Coaches Vigdis Holmeset and Geir Oustorp are looking forward to interesting matches against Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire, who they have never met on court before. Alongside their intercontinental rivals, Norway will take on Hungary, Montenegro and Portugal at Hungary 2018.
Norway’s preparation for Hungary 2018 involved a week-long camp in May, which included on-court and physical training, as well as team building. The squad plays three friendly matches in June.
Group at Hungary 2018
Group A: Norway, Hungary, Montenegro, Brazil, Portugal, Côte d’Ivoire
Games at Hungary 2018
All times local
Monday 2 July: NOR-CIV (12:00)
Wednesday 4 July: BRA-NOR (20:00)
Thursday 5 July: NOR-MNE (18:00)
Saturday 7 July: NOR-POR (15:30)
Sunday 8 July: HUN-NOR (18:00)