How Norway defied Dutch challenge in 2016Article
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GAMES TO REMEMBER: In 2016 Norway secured their record-extending seventh trophy win at the Women’s EHF EURO, after winning a close battle 30:29 in the final against Netherlands

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How Norway defied Dutch challenge in 2016

EHF EURO 2016 was another superb event, full of drama, excitement and first-class handball.

The tournament in Sweden has been featured on the EHF EURO Facebook page and YouTube channel this week, with the final between Norway and Netherlands to be streamed in full on Thursday (16 April) at 18:00 CET.

The Norwegian side were flawless until the climax of the competition. However, Netherlands made the record holders sweat, as Norway needed a 12-goal game from a superb Nora Mørk for a narrow 30:29 victory.

Pre-match analysis

On paper, it looked like a totally unbalanced game, as Norway had the experience and weapons to down Netherlands’ challenge for gold in their first ever final.

Thorir Hergeirsson’s side had won all seven games before the last act in Gothenburg, while Netherlands showed their limits in a loss against Germany in the first game (30:27), only to bounce back and come out roaring with a six-game winning streak.

The experience was key, however, during the game, as Norway took advantage of their opponents’ mistakes and their inexperience, as they secured a 30:29 win.

Breaking point

Despite their issues, Netherlands were on the brink of closing the first half with a superb lead, after opening a four-goal gap, 13:9. However, Norway roared back and finished the first part of the game on a high, with a 5:0 unanswered run, that left their opponents scratching their heads.

The second breaking point of the game was in the middle of the second half, when Norway deployed another flawless run, 5:1, to clear the path for the seventh EHF EURO trophy. As Netherlands were left reeling, 26:21, their late comeback was not enough, with Norway clinching the game, 30:29.

Player of the match – Nora Mørk (Norway)

The diminutive right back was instrumental in leading Norway to their seventh EHF EURO title, scoring 12 of her 53 goals from the tournament in the last act against Netherlands. Mørk was not only named the best right back of the competition, but also became the top goal scorer, with a 56 per cent efficiency in front of goal throughout the EHF EURO 2016.

Unsung hero – Kari Aalvik Grimsbø (Norway)

While Mørk may have provided the goals, it was Grimsbø who cemented Norway’s win with another superb outing between the goal posts. She was not named the best goalkeeper of the tournament, but her 35 per cent saving efficiency throughout the competition was good enough to help Norway clinch the trophy. 

Best quote

“This was one of our best wins, because it was tough, some changes of the teams, there were some new fresh faces in. It is fantastic to win all eight games in such a tournament and it is not every time that you do that.” – Thorir Hergeirsson, coach Norway

Since the introduction of the current format of the EHF EURO, no team had managed to win all eight games on their way to the trophy, but Norway did exactly that to secure their seventh gold medal. Their coach, Thorir Hergeirsson, who won his third EHF EURO, was ecstatic after the final whistle and duly celebrated the win with joy.

Play of the day

That Camilla Herrem is gifted with an otherworldly technical ability was already known. But trying such a shot in a do-or-die situation like the EHF EURO final is something different. It was early in the game, but Herrem powered her shot to perfection to score a superb goal that forced Netherlands to try and tie the game once again, like they did almost throughout the whole game.


Norway won their seventh trophy as their domination in women’s handball continued. Yet there were signs of struggle, while some players took a step back. Perennial injuries to the likes of Amanda Kurtovic, Nora Mørk or Kari Aalvik Grimsbø slowed down the Norwegian side in the next years, as the most decorated team in history in the EHF EURO missed the final for the first time in 16 years two years later, at the EHF EURO 2018.

On the other hand, Netherlands kept going and won their first major international trophy, the IHF World Championship 2019, only one year after securing the bronze medal at the EHF EURO 2018, with a golden generation spearheaded by goalkeeper Tess Wester, centre back Estavana Polman or left back Lois Abbingh.

Fun fact

Norwegian goalkeeper Kari Aalvik Grimsbø became the first player to win five trophies at the EHF EURO. The Norwegian shot stopper has also won two gold medals in the Olympic Games and two gold medals at World Championships.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ew