Russia shock Norway with impressive display
Russia look set to be one of the dark horses at the EHF EURO 2022, as the young, inexperienced side led by Velimir Petkovic secured a crucial 23:22 win against Norway on Saturday night, virtually assuring themselves of a place in the main round group II in Bratislava.
Norway vs Russia 22:23 (12:14)
- Russia had not started the EHF EURO with two wins since 2000, when they went on to secure the silver medal
- Norway turned the ball over five times and posted a mediocre 57% attacking efficiency in the first half, with the difference kept in check only thanks to goalkeeper Kristian Saeveraas, who saved eight shots
- it was another hit-and-miss evening for Norway’s star centre back Sander Sagosen, who scored only four goals from 11 shots, for an average 36 per cent shooting efficiency
- one of the two goals scored by Russia left back Dmitrii Santalov, was the second fastest registered at the EHF EURO 2022, at 138.8 km/h
- this was Russia’s first win against Norway since 2006, seeing them snap a three-game losing streak against the Scandinavian side
Norway’s attack left frustrated by stellar Russia defence
On paper, Norway looked to be clear favourites against a Russia team who were undergoing a major rebuild. However, it was clear that Russia mean business, especially with a great outing from the Grundfos Player of the Match recipient, Dmitry Zhitnikov, who finished the game with seven goals and three assists.
But it was in the defensive department that Russia excelled, constantly frustrating Norway and limiting them to only 22 goals scored — their second lowest output in 56 games played in the competition.
Russia are not mathematically through to the main round, but with four points — two more than Norway and Slovakia — are in a comfortable position ahead of their do-or-die game against the hosts on Monday. Norway hold their own cards, as they must win against Lithuania to secure a main round berth.
After the first game, I was not so sure we could win, but we really proved that we are a very good team with this result. Teams should fear and respect us in the future, I am very happy with this win.
Russia played very good today, they played a very tough handball, very physical. We did too many mistakes in attack, we failed on fast breaks. Russia were the better team today and this is why they won the two points.