Max Darj is the Swedish defense general who made his World Cup debut in France and is now making his fifth straight championship.

- In this championship he has been completely outstanding.

It is 100 percent effort and will in everything he does.

In addition, I think he has added a dimension when it comes to timing, to be in the right place at the right time, says national team captain Glenn Solberg.

- Yes, but I think it has gone perfectly well.

The top was against Egypt when we got to the defensive game so damn good, no talk about it.

But there is a little more to hone in, says Max Darj himself.

The hub of defense

The 29-year-old Bohuslän is not a man of big words.

Rather, he lets the game on the field speak.

In the summer of 2019, Darj was named the male player of the year in Swedish handball and in this World Cup tournament he has been the hub of Sweden's successful defensive game, which has sometimes been shockingly good considering how the preparations were disrupted by canceled training sessions and matches.

If Darj himself is surprised?

- Both.

You never know, if you have not played much together, you never know how the player next to you reacts to certain small movements and so on.

At the same time - everyone here is a good handball player who knows what is required, he says.

- I think we have been very clear and honest with each other about how we want to play.

If someone says something in a review, maybe someone else says I want it this way instead.

Then you have to compromise a bit and come up with a good solution.

"Is impressive"

Darj gets more confidence even offensively now that both Andreas Nilsson and Jesper Nielsen are missing in the World Cup and so far he has played most of all Swedes in the tournament.

He is impressed by how all the national team freshmen have performed in Glenn Solberg's new, and so far undefeated, blue and yellow team building.

Not least the defense colleague and left-winger Jonathan Carlsbogård, who had only one international match with him on the merit list for the World Cup, makes Darj sprinkle with praise.

- As he played against Egypt was absolutely incredible, the boy makes such a match in his fourth international.

It is not something you expect.

But that only shows how important he will be for the national team.

It's incredibly fun to watch.

But it's not just him, there are many inexperienced who do it just fine.

It is impressive.

Sweden tops the table when the intermediate round begins, a dream situation to have with you before tonight's match against Belarus.

- This is what we came here for, but now it's really starting.

We can not go here and think that we have done well so far, but we must look ahead, says Darj.

Sweden beat Belarus 29-20 when the teams last met, in Zagreb during the European Championships 2018.

KLIPP: Sweden group winner - after great drama (January 18, 2021)

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Sweden defeated Egypt.

Won the group.

Photo: Bildbyrån.