Bergerud led the way as Norway took an important step towards the Olympic journey: – I'm a happy pig

Bergerud led the way as Norway took an important step towards the Olympic journey: – I'm a happy pig

(Norway-Portugal 32-29) The Portuguese used every means to stop Tobias Grondahl. But Norway is off to a good start in securing its Olympic ticket this weekend.

All means were tried to stop Tobias Gröndahl. In the background is Harald Reinkind. Photo: NTB/NTB

– It's a long step on the road to the Olympics, says Discovery+ expert Ole Gustav Gjekstad.

Goalkeeper Torbjørn Bergerud led the way as Norway took an 18-13 lead over Portugal at the break. His saves were very decisive. Bergerud continued in the second half.

– It's good that Bergerud – not least Simen Lies – stands up at the end, says Jjkstad in the broadcast.

Norway will meet Hungary in an important match on Saturday at 19.30, and on Sunday Tunisia will be the opponent at 18.30.

The top two teams out of the four qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games. Live matches are counted first. Goal difference can still be decisive. Tunisia and Hungary will meet later on Thursday evening.

Men's handball was part of the 2021 Olympics. Before that, Norway had not qualified since 1972 – with legendary Oppsal players in the team, among others.

-The last few minutes have been hectic. It was chaotic. “It was intense because we resisted the pressure and turned around to win by three goals,” Torbjörn Bergerud tells Discovery+.

Saturday's match will be equally important, says Jonas Wille of the match against hosts Hungary.

He says that later Thursday evening he will sit in the hall and watch the match between Hungary and Tunisia.

Sander Sagosin made life miserable for the Portuguese, although there were a fair number of mistakes.

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– We see Sander from a completely different side than he was at the European Commission in January, says Discovery+ expert Marit Malm Frafjord.

Torbjørn Bergerud played a good game against Portugal. And here he is celebrating his rescue. Photography: Attila Kespendyk/AFP/NTB

– We have revenge in our bodies since the European Commission. We had a good first half, then it will be more chaotic in the second half, says Sagosen himself on the live broadcast.

Portugal was four or five goals behind Norway, coming off a disappointing European Championship. But ten minutes before the end, the score suddenly became only 27-25 to Norway.

“It's getting tense now,” says Jekstad on the Discovery+ broadcast.

Simen Lyse came in and was good when it mattered most. Three goals in a row from him means hope has exploded for Portugal.

– Liz comes in and makes her decision, says national team director Jonas Wille in the Discovery+ broadcast.

Norway played seven versus six matches, and was more successful than in UEFA.

Two first-choice options are missing for Hungary's Tatabanya this weekend: left-handed Magnus Abelwijk Ruud and the all-important Goran Johansen. Kent Robin Teunissen is in place, but he was not ready for Thursday's game.

-Jekstad says many experienced people are missing.

Norway also met Portugal in the European Union in January. At that time the Portuguese won 37-32. Also at that time Norway was in the lead, but was unable to hold on to it. They didn't make that mistake Thursday night.

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“We would have liked a bigger win, but considering we lost to this team in January, we have to be satisfied,” Sagosin tells Discovery+.

Torbjørn Bergerud and Sander Sagosen were key for Norway. Photo: NTB/NTB

It has been a difficult winter for Norwegian men's handball, as they finished ninth in the European Championship and Kolstad was eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League.

Norway finished the European Championship in style against Sweden – with Tobias Grondahl leading the way. It was also good when Norway escaped Portugal on Thursday evening.

– It's really a step in the right direction compared to the European Commission in January, Grondahl tells Discovery+.

– There are many cracks from the European Commission. I'm a happy pig! Tobias Gröndahl continues.

Norway is the highest-ranked team in these Olympic qualifiers, but both Hungary (5th place) and Portugal (7th place) finished better than Jonas Wille's men in European qualifiers this winter.

Note: All Norway qualifiers are broadcast on TVNorge/Discovery+.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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