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Date: 7/31/2010

Final: Russia – Norway 21:30 (11:14)

At 17:40 Korean local time the Norwegian dream came true: For the first time ever Norway has become Women’s Juniors World Champion. The players climb on top of each other, cheered their songs, spread the sparkling wine through the Tiger Hall and ran a round of honor with their flag, as the Russian players had to realize that the European Champion was the clear better team. After a quite close first half Norway beat Russia in the end with an absolutely clear distance of nine goals. The Norwegian joy reached their climax when the World Champions Trophy was handed over by IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa on the podium of Seoul.  After winning several titles with the women’s teams Norway now’s on the junior’s top after winning Silver in 2005. Russia missed their twelfth ever title in this age category.

Both teams started with high speed, a lot of goals and on eye-level. But as the Norwegians were stronger in individual actions and their goalkeepers were clearly better in the beginning, the European Champion extended the lead to 8:6 in minute 12, when Russia took their time-out very early. But it didn’t help to find the pace again, in contrast: the number of mistakes in the Russians attacks arose for several minutes, and Norway punished every mistake by counter attack goals.  Missing so many chances Russia was clearly below with 8:13 and didn’t have any ideas to stop this way down. But as their defense stood quite well later on the record World Champion reduced the gap to three goals at the break – it could have been even closer, if the Russians didn’t have missed a penalty shot with the halftime whistle.

The second half became initially a real tough fight of the two top teams of this WCH. Norway was shaken a bit, but remained in lead, as their offense players – especially Stine Oftedal – still played highly efficient. In the defense the Norwegians including strong goalkeeper Guru Rundbraathen blocked several shots – and Russia had to try very hard to break through the defense wall.  As the number of technical faults and lost balls arose even more and all changes in the offense system after another time-out didn’t work  the Norwegians could rush away again to a five goal difference. So the Russians had to go through the defense with “the crowbar”, as the time was running against them. But by failing very often the chance of taking the 12th title at Juniors WCH became smaller and smaller. Norway beat the Russians by their own weapons – the tall, movable and aggressive defense and individual class and speed in the attacks. When Nora Moerk scored the 25:18 in minute 52 the Norwegians were highly close to Gold for the first time. The Russian offense played without system, ideas and too less pressure so it was easy to defend for Norway. And as the goalkeepers saved one penalty after the other the Norwegian fans started singing and waving their flag in Seoul at a quite early moment.

On the other hand the faces of the Russian players sitting on the bench didn’t lie, as they showed no more faith even five minutes before the end. Norway went on and on and at the score of 28:19 in minute 57 the players on the bench started their celebrations, before their team extended the lead to ten impressive goals. And when the final whistle was blown the party in red, blue and white started.