Norway’s popular women’s handball team has failed to make it into the finals of the European Championships. It’s the first time in 18 years that the so-called “handball girls” lost their chance to win any medals in the important tournament.
Losses in the first round of play for Norway’s group, which included Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic, left the Norwegians’ chances hinging on how others played. Now Norway will play for fifth place in Euro2018 against Sweden, after the Netherlands beat Germany 27-21.
Norway had “lacked intensity,” according to the team’s captain Stine Bredal Oftedal, when it lost to Germany itself. That opening loss was highlighted Wednesday night when it became clear that the Norwegians were aced out of the Euro finals for the first time under coach Thorir Hergeirsson’s leadership.
The handball team’s last match will take place in Paris just before the weekend, and remains important for later seeding and a spot in the next Summer Olympics. The handball players will also at least be home earlier for Christmas this year, unlike when they not only reached but won finals in the European Championships that often run right up until the holidays.