Norway’s highly popular national women’s handball team gave their country an early Christmas present on Sunday when they won the European Championships after earlier sailing through a week of preliminaries.
Pre-Christmas parties being held around the country, with the championship on TV in the background, erupted into cheers when the team, affectionately known as håndball jentene (the handball girls), beat the Netherlands by a score of 30-29. The match was thrillingly close throughout, with the score often tied and then the Netherlands pulling ahead 9-6 after two quick goals.
“The Netherlands are really good, but we created enough chances and scored enough goals,” coach Thorir Hergeirsson said with a broad grin after the match. It marked the seventh time that Norway won the European Championships and “revenge” after “only” winning bronze at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last summer. The handball girls, who won Olympic gold in London in 2012 were disappointed and keen for a comeback.
They got it, with Nora Mørk scoring 12 times and emerging as the top scorer in the tournament that played out in southwestern Sweden and ended Sunday night in Gothenburg. Sunday’s victory came after the team beat France in the semi-final on Friday. Each player will win a bonus of NOK 75,000, reported newspaper Dagbladet.