Norway’s national men’s handball team rebounded to win their first medal at the European Championships in Stockholm over the weekend. They all seemed to agree the bronze was a good consolation prize after failing to get into the finals.
Norway’s narrow loss to Croatia in a dramatic match on Friday had plunged them into despair, but newspaper Aftenposten noted how they “shook off their disappointment” to beat Slovenia by a decisive 28-20 on Saturday. Norwegian sports reporters were giving lots of credit to goalkeeper Torbjørn Bergerud, who blocked 15 of 32 goal attempts.
The Norwegian men were thus jubilant after all, not just over the medal but also for their automatic qualification for the World Championships in Egypt next year. They remained critical of how the match had been scheduled for Saturday instead of Sunday, giving little time for either Norway or Slovenia to recover from Friday’s exertions. Only the final played out on Sunday, with Spain prevailing over Croatia in the end to win gold and silver respectively.
Now the Norwegians are mostly looking forward to the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo this summer, for which they expect to qualify this spring.