The Dutch handball players go to the second round of the World Cup in Japan as a group winner. The team of national coach Emmanuel Mayonnade beat Friday's frightner Norway for the first time in twenty years: 30-28.
For a long time, the Orange faced a backlog in the duel with the losing finalist of the previous World Cup. Only halfway through the second half did the Netherlands level with Norway, thanks in part to six hits from top scorer Lois Abbingh. After 26-25, the Netherlands never gave up the lead again and recorded the first win over Norway since 1999 (24-18).
The Norwegian women have consistently won from the Netherlands in recent years: 31-23 in the 2015 World Cup final, 36-26 in the battle for bronze at the 2016 Games, 30-29 in the 2016 European Championship final, 32- 23 in the semifinals of the 2017 World Cup and 29-16 in the 2018 European Championships.
The Netherlands, which already qualified for the second round of the World Cup on Thursday through a win against Serbia (36-23), group A concludes as a group winner with eight points from five games. Earlier, Orange defeated Angola (35-28) and Cuba (51-23), the weak brothers in group A, with ample figures. The Mayonnade team started the tournament with a 26-32 loss against Slovenia.
In the second round, which consists of two groups of six countries each, the Dutch team ends up in a group with South Korea, Germany, Norway, Serbia and Denmark. The two best teams per group go to the semi-finals.
The Netherlands will start on Sunday with four points in the second round in Japan, because the points that were earned in the first round against countries that also continue will be taken to the second round. Thanks to the victories over Serbia and Norway, the Netherlands is already at four points.
See also: Results and program for the Netherlands at World Cup handball in Japan
Orange must be in pursuit
Orange faced the facts at the start against Norway. After more than fifteen minutes of play, national coach Mayonnade set a time-out for a 4-7 deficit, as the Dutch were unable to demolish the Norwegian wall for no less than five minutes. At halftime it was 14-18 in favor of the Norwegians, who started the game against the Netherlands as number one in the group.
The Netherlands came out of the starting blocks after halftime and narrowed the margin to one hit, after which Norway came back to 20-23. Orange nevertheless straightened its back; The Netherlands came 23-23. Abbingh gave the Netherlands the lead for the first time at 26-25, after which the victory was no longer in danger.
The Netherlands finished the last two world championships on the podium (silver in 2015 and bronze in 2017) and hopes to secure honorary metal again. The world champion in Japan qualifies directly for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The numbers two to seven are allowed to participate in an Olympic qualifying tournament.