Ahead of Tuesday’s match against Hungary, Norway is a big favourite.
Despite the nation’s great interest in handball and the tradition of the sport, Hungary has won only three medals in tournaments in the past 20 years.
At the same time, Hungarian rookies have stood out for more than a decade. The national under-19 team has been in the semi-finals of every European Handball Championship since 2011.
But why is the handball country failing at a high level?
Big jelly change
Nora Mork played for the Hungarian team Gyor between 2016 and 2019, winning three Maesterliga golds with the club.
– They have done very well at the entry level in recent years, but they are struggling to thrive more. I remember well from my time Gyor That there are an unbelievable number of talented players, but there is clearly one last piece that hasn’t been put into place. placeMork says.
Stine Bredal Oftedal, who usually plays for the big club Győr, points to the overlap of players and experience as an important factor for the national team to rise to the top.
– DrThe thing that was so good for us in Norway when we had big generational changes is that we kept those who had experience and some of those who took the burden over many years. We get to mix in a generational change. I think that was the hardest thing for Hungary. A lot of times they end up with a big young squad that has to pull the load off right away.
Pressure on young talents
Hungarian linebacker Noemi Havra told Danish TV 2 Sport last month that the early hack led to high expectations that were difficult and unfulfilled, which were mentally eroded.
– High expectations can be hard to bear. It’s a potential challenge if you get good early, you have to expect that you will always be good, but life is not like that, it just goes up and down,” Norway coach Thorer Hergersson tells NRK.
Hungarian winger Greta Marton won WC gold with the junior team in 2018 and believes the senior team needs time to achieve the same result:
– When I played in the junior team, we played well together and spent a lot of time together. We attended training camps with good results. In the first team we don’t meet often, so we need more time to become a properly good team.
Lack of physical exercise
They have impressive stats in terms of juniors. NRK expert Marit Malm Frafjord says it seems odd that they’re not taking it up a notch with such a hit on the rookie side, but there may be reasons for that.
Malm Frafjord suspects that a lack of physical training may be one reason for the lack of results on the larger side:
– One reason may be that Hungarian players, traditionally, do not place special emphasis on physical training, and there is a physical difference between junior and senior tournaments.
Marton confirms the expert’s suspicions:
– Of course we try to get more physical training, But we don’t have many gyms to train in in Hungary, so it’s mostly handball.
Hungary coach Vladimir Golovin told NRK that Hungary is also focusing on the physical part of the game during the tournament.
– DrModern handball is fast and getting faster. It doesn’t work without physical training, so we try to focus on that as well. The coach says we obviously have to improve our fitness.
Norway and Hungary meet on Tuesday in the EC Handball Championship. You can follow the match on NRK Sport from 20:15.
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