- Chronicle: Spain disarms Norway and will play its first World Cup final
When I played and even before, that is, a lifetime, if someone wondered how to play handball, the answer was quick: as does Norway. His record may serve to summarize - twice Olympic champions, three in the world and seven in Europe - but, beyond that, the style stood out. Norway has always played book, defining the sport, with a lot of order in defense and a vertiginous attack, very fast.
Well, on Friday, Spain, for the first time in a tie, beat Norway and also did it big: with a six-goal advantage, enjoying, displaying all its virtues. The national team will play its first World Cup final on Sunday. Hours after the game it is still exciting to write it, say it, cry it. In the semifinals he made very few mistakes, he knew how to penalize Norway's failures with counterattacks and in the positional attack he won. In a team with so many young people it was really moving to see how they grew, how their pulse was not shaking, how they fulfilled everything they had planned.
Perhaps it is advantageous now to say it, but I honestly trusted them from the beginning of the tournament, from the first to the last. In recent years, coach Carlos Viver had introduced many changes, a transition was needed, but from the preparation it was noted that they already knew what to do and how to do it.
For me the key is that, as happened in our group during the London 2012 Games, none stands out from the others and, in addition, there is a good balance of ages. Veterans such as Silvia Navarro or Nerea Pena have given confidence to young women to play loose and quiet, which is not always easy. To name an example - and without wanting to choose anyone - Ainhoa Hernández , who came to the Rio 2016 Games and was left without playing and is now huge. His performances in this World Cup have been to frame, to teach all those girls who want to play pivots. I would not like to forget the extremes, like Maitane Etxeberria , who came to replace Carmen Martín and has embroidered it, but it is that I begin to enumerate and do not stop.
Now, before celebrating, yes, there is the final and raise a title that is possible. The Netherlands is a high level team, but Spain has already shown that it can beat anyone. The Dutch team will present a different challenge to the one presented by Norway, as their game is based on a great goal with Tess Wester and a strong outside pitch, with Lois Abbingh and Estavana Polman as referents. We will have to go crashing to prevent them from getting goals.
The only thing that worries me is that the girls get well physically to the game. In all the fights for the medals that I have disputed, it has become clear to me that a fundamental, decisive factor is the physical state of the players after having played nine games in a few days. Although the motivation is very high and the head works like never before, the legs weigh and, in the worst cases, do not respond. So the party will have to be delayed a few hours. Today will be the day to sleep, take care of yourself and let yourself be cared for by physical therapists. Tomorrow has to make history: Spain can win its first World Cup.
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