Sunday, December 10, 2023

Spain learns to suffer and goes to the World Cup semifinals beating Norway after two extensions

The Spanish men’s handball team got an epic ticket to the semifinals in the 2023 World Cup after eliminating Norway (34-35) with two extensions this Wednesday at the ERGO Arena in Gdańsk (Poland), an appointment now with Denmark to continue the streak of medals.

A goalkeeper save Gonzalo Perez de Vargas four seconds from the end allowed the Spanish team to seal the ticket to the semifinals of the tournament.

The Hispanics they seemed to be deleted after entering the last twenty seconds of regulation time with a goal against (24-25) and Norway in possession of the ball.

But the passivity The Nordic team did not go unnoticed by the referees, who punished Norway’s lack of offensive vocation, which allowed Spain to force extra time (25-25) with a final goal from Dani Dujshebaev.

Nevertheless, It would not only take extra time, but twoso that the Spanish team, who wasted the opportunity to seal their pass to the semifinals at the end of the first extra time, would ensure their presence in the fight for the medals.

An action from Norway-Spain. Reuters

Thanks to a final save by Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, who cleared with his face, which cost the Norwegian player a red card, the launch of Kristian Björnsenwho until then had converted his previous nine shots into a goal.

Dramatic outcome of a match that started uphill for the Spanish team, which took a world to provide starting with the slightest speed and fluidity to the circulation of the ball in attack.

Spain’s offensive problems It didn’t take long for them to be reflected in a score that after eight minutes indicated a more than disturbing 6-2 against Ribera’s team, who had to urgently request a time-out.

But neither did the Spanish team improve, when they managed to overcome the Norwegian defense they ran into the goalkeeper Torbjorn Bergerudwho after ten minutes already counted three interventions.

However, Spain was not willing to give up and taking advantage of a new exclusion of the Norwegian superstar sander sagosenthe second in fourteen minutes, equalized the contest (7-7) with a 0-3 run.

A reaction that rewarded defensive improvement of the Spanish team, that if in the first ten minutes of the game they had conceded six goals, in the following ten they only conceded half, three.

Goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas. Reuters

If until then Norway had not had problems connecting with its wingers and pivots, little by little the Hispanics were closing all the roads towards the second row players, forcing errors that allowed them to finally start running.

Thus, on the run, without having to go through the static attack, the Spanish team managed to turn the score around to take the lead for the first time in the game (9-10) with nine minutes to go before the break.

A time in which, despite the multiple problems that those of Jordi Ribera every time they had to attack statically, the Spanish team stayed alive on the scoreboard as reflected in the 13-12 with which the first half closed.

minimal difference which remained (17-16) at the start of a second half that turned into a continuous exchange of goals between Spaniards and Norwegians.

This dynamic did not favor the Spanish team, which feels more comfortable with lower scores, in which defensive work prevails over scoring frenzy.

But not even so did the Hispanics lose face at the meeting at the hands of a sensational Joan Canellaswho seemed to go back ten years in time and who led Jordi Ribera’s men with his goals and assists to reach a 20-20 tie in the last ten minutes of play.

Ángel Fernández celebrates a national team goal. Reuters

Time in which the goalkeepers claimed all the lights, since if Kristian Saeveras saved a penalty from Joan Cañellas, Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas parried a shot from Tobias Grondahl with two hands. Everything to be resolved (24-24) in the last five minutes.

In that final stretch, everything seemed lost for the Spanish team after the failed launch of Alex Dujshebaev which allowed Norway to face the last twenty-two seconds with a goal advantage (25-24) and possession of the ball.

The Nordics tried to keep the ball, without the least willingness to attack, which did not go unnoticed by the referees, who punished them for their passive play, allowing Spain force (25-25) overtime with a final goal from Dani Dujshebaev.

Extra time in which Spain had the opportunity to take the victory after reaching the last seconds ahead on the scoreboard (28-29), but if in regulation time Norway did not know how to take advantage of this situation, neither did the Hispanics, condemning (29-29) to a second extension

The Spanish team did not fail in it, which after entering the last minute with a goal advantage (34-35), thanks to a whiplash from Dani Dujshebaev, he saw how Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas stopped Bjornsen’s final throw. A stop that was worth a semifinal

– Data sheet:

34 – Norway: Bergerud; Bjornsen (9), Rod (2), O’Sullivan (4), Sagosen (3, 2p), Barthold (8, 2p) and Overby (2) -initial team- Saeveras (ps), Aga Eck (-), Overjordet (-), Gullerud (1), Johannessen (-), Reinkind (3), Grondahl (2), Gulliksen (-) and Blonz (-)

35 – Spain: Perez de Vargas; Solé (3, 1p), Dani Dujshebaev (5), Gideón Guardiola (-), Peciña (-), Casado (-) and Ángel Fernández (8) -initial team- Corrales (ps), Maqueda (-), Alex Dujshebaev (7), Figueras (5, 1p), Serdio (1), Cañellas (5), Valera (-), Sánchez-Migallón (-) and Odriozola (1)

Scoreboard every five minutes: 3-2, 6-3, 7-6, 9-9, 12-11 and 13-12 (Rest); 16-15, 18-17, 20-20, 22-22, 24-24 and 25-25 (Final); 27-27 (Half time 1st extra time), 29-29 (Final 1st extra time), 32-32 (Half time 2nd extra time), 34-35 (Final 2nd extra time)

referees: Lah and Sok (SLO). The Norwegian player Kristian Bjornsen (m.80) was sent off with a direct red card. In addition, they excluded Sagosen (2), O’Sullivan (2) and Johannessen (2) for Norway by two minutes; and Cañellas, Dani Dujshebaev and Sánchez-Migallón for Spain.

incidents: World Cup quarterfinal match between Poland and Sweden played at the ERGO Arena in Gdansk (Poland) in front of some 5,500 spectators.


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