GRANOLLERS (VG) (Spain-Germany 26–21 / Denmark-Brazil 30-25) Spain is ready for the World Cup semi-finals. The host nation will be Norway’s semi-final opponent if the handball girls settle with the Russians on Wednesday.
Spain started awkwardly in the World Cup quarter-finals. But at the position 1-5 to Germany, they laid out the defense, narrowed in the duels and never looked back. They won their seventh straight World Cup match.
Players like Carmen Campos (7 goals) and Paula Arcos (4 goals) impressed when Spain turned the match around and went to the semi-finals.
– This is very inspiring for us. Now we just want to continue, says 19-year-old and very fast Arcos to VG. The best on the field will not say which opponent she prefers in the semifinals on Friday.
– Both Norway and Russia are very experienced teams that have won championships, she says.
But the arena roof in Palau d’Esports in Granollers lifted the most when veteran goalkeeper Silivia Navarro (42) came in and saved penalties.
Norway struggled with the veteran goalkeeper when the World Cup semi-final was lost to the Spaniards in Kumamoto two years ago. The 22-28 loss ended in a flood of tears for a Norwegian team that had been beaten seven times in a row in the championship.
With victory and revenge for the Olympic loss against Russia’s handball federation on Wednesday, Norway is ready for a new match with the same motivation against Spain. The road to a possible World Cup final can be an ever so small revenge for Norway.
Spain finished with World Cup silver in 2019 after the Netherlands decided the final at the last second.
Henny Reistad about the World Cup quarter-finals: – We are eager for revenge
Sandra Toft and Denmark can not meet Norway until the World Cup final.
Nor have they been to stop in the championship. The Danes won their seventh straight match when Brazil was beaten. Thus, they are the first nation to be ready for the World Cup semi-finals.
– It is fantastic. I am a happy girl now and play on a fantastic team, says Sandra Toft DR. With her 17 saves, she was named the best player of the match.
With Toft in goal, the team has shown great defensive strength in the World Cup and continued in the same way against the South American champions. The former Larvik goalkeeper topped the match by saving a penalty throw in the end.
Left wing Lærke Nolsø Pedersen became the top scorer by putting all his six shots. She was followed up by penalty specialist Simone Petersen (5), right winger Trine Østergaard Jensen (5) and fullback Anne Mette Hansen (4).
Denmark is ready for its first World Cup semi-final since 2013. At that time it was bronze. Opponent in the semifinals wins Wednesday’s quarterfinal between France and Sweden.
– It’s hip and happy, says Sandra Toft in the final arena Palau d’Esports in Granollers.
Norway to the World Cup quarter-finals: Reistad turned the nightmare
In last year’s European Championships, the Danes finished in 4th place after losing the semifinal for Norway at home in Herning.
– It is good that we manage to get to the semifinals for years in a row. It no longer goes up and down, up and down, describes Sandra Toft.
During the World Cup in Japan two years ago, the Danes ended up in 9th place and were therefore not even allowed to participate in the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics. This led to a change of coach.
Well, Jesper Jensen is responsible for Denmark in the second championship in a row. On a daily basis, he has Henny Reistad and several Norwegian players in the stable at home in Esbjerg. Next season, Nora Mørk will also join the club, which is led by the Danish national team manager.