When the Netherlands beat South Korea easily on Wednesday, Norway, which has taken three World Cup golds, two Olympic golds and seven European Championship golds, was in a depressed position ahead of the group final against Germany.
A draw or victory was required for Norway to win the group - in the loss the Norwegians had missed the World Cup semi-final.
Although it was even at break (17-16), Norway took a grip on the two points a bit into the second half. The Norwegians may have the world's best set of middle sex with Heid Løke, among others, but against Germany Kari Skaar Brattset who delivered with six goals at six finishes. In the end, Norway won by 32–29.
The Netherlands finished second in the group and are now allowed to face Russia, which after eight matches is the only undefeated World Cup team. Norway is placed against Spain, which took second place in Sweden's group.
The semi-finals will be decided on Friday. The final of the Park Dome in Kumamoto will be played on Sunday. The winner also takes a direct seat to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.