Germany's World Cup finals against Norway: Inferior, disappointed and proud
Both the defense and the offensive weakened - but that alone does not explain Germany's end in the World Cup semi-final. Norway was also more sophisticated. Nevertheless, the tournament writes success stories.
Fabian Böhm stormed to the circle, started to throw and missed under pressure the chance to equalize. Immediately Norway switched: fast counterattack over Sander Sagosen, Patrick Wiencek still tried to push the Norwegian superstar to the ground with a massive grip. But in the fall and with the last power, Sagosen played a fantastic pass on Magnus Rød - and this hit freestanding for 10:12 from German point of view. Two goals behind instead of equalizer.
This scene in the 25th minute lasted just ten seconds. It is symbolic of this fast-paced sport, and it explains very well why the German handball players lost against Norway this evening in the World Cup semi-final. Why they have to bury their dream of winning the title in their own country and compete against France in the match for third place on Sunday (14.30, Liveticker SPIEGEL ONLINE, TV: ZDF). (Click here for the game plan and all results)
8 picturesGermany's semi-final defeat: Two good goalkeepers are not enough
The completion weakness was a reason. Böhm, who had dropped in the 25th minute, was even one of the stronger German pitchers, he scored six goals in seven attempts. The problem on the offensive was more likely the players for the simple goals from the backcourt. Steffen Fäth and Kai Häfner caught a weak evening - they did not succeed, although they threw seven times on the peat.
"We do not make the clear things," said Jannik Kohlbacher, without naming Fäth and Häfner. The two of them wore the sole fault at the World Cup, as Wiencek, one of the two players in the German middle block, correctly added: "Our defense was not as stable today as we know it."
They are known as one of the strongest defensive lines in the world. Actually. And that is already the second part of the answer, why the DHB-selection lost 25:31 (12:14) and now Norway in the Danish Herning on Sunday (17:30 clock, live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE; TV: Eurosport) against co-hosts Denmark plays the title: 31 goals are in a World Cup semi-finals too many.
Ironically, in the semifinal Wiencek and Pekeler weaken
There Wiencek should be mentioned as a factor. He entered the semi-finals with 13 intercepted balls and 14 successful blocks, these are dream figures, he is one of the best defenders in the world. The problem: Only one single block was added to Norway. His next man Hendrik Pekeler conceded three penalties and saw in the second half the red card. In addition, there were four other time penalties other German players, too often had to defend Germany in the minority.
"We have thereby lost our compactness," said national coach Christian Prokop, and he admitted that despite preparation for the line of Czech referee team could not adjust. Toughness is part of the handball, but they kept whistling on both sides, "said Wiencek, who did not see the referees as crucial to the game.
His teammates shared this opinion. At the same time, however, it was not just that Germany was playing offensive and defensive. The Norwegian handball players were simply more determined in the decisive scenes, as in the 25th minute described at the beginning. They were tactically more refined and in the end the "deserved winner" (Böhm) and "the deserved finalist" (Wiencek).
Above all convinced Norway playmaker Sagosen, as so often at this World Cup. Now he also coined this semi-final. The 23-year-old from Paris Saint-Germain often prevailed in important one-on-one situations and he got a lot of wonderful matches to the circle - that made the difference. Only Bjarte Myrhol scored six goals from six meters, but Norway came up with 17 close-range hits. "That was our plan, we prepared for it," said head coach Christian Berge. And the many underpaid situations of the Germans made the necessary space possible. (See a video analysis of the game)
"Now we want bronze"
So Germany will not celebrate a repeat of their 2007 home win at this World Cup, that's for sure; and unsurprisingly, many disappointed faces showed up later. Wiencek said he was "very sad", Patrick Groetzki spoke of a "great void that hurts very much". Traceable and predictable statements. But it was also satisfaction to see. So there was a bit of relief about how the tournament had gone before. "We have a mix of disappointment and pride," said coach Prokop.
Because this World Cup also writes success stories. Such as the dramatic success against Croatia, when the German team responded impressively to Martin Strobel's cruciate ligament rupture. Fabian Wiede has shown that one day he can shape the German backcourt, even in some situations against Norway, he trumped with courageous distance throws and passports. National coach Prokop and his team seem to have come together better after the messy European Championships a year ago. It's all worth it.
And yet the tournament is not over. "We all had a dream, we wanted to become world champion, the dream is over," Böhm said in a strong voice and after a short pause, he added: "Now we want bronze."