Before the final of the Handball World Championship: Denmark wants to make history

In the end, all Danes cheered for one man: Niklas Landin. In his inimitable style, the goalkeeper had saved a seven-metre throw against Spain on Friday evening just under a minute before the final whistle – half in the splits and then still so agile that he was able to parry the ball that had been pulled up with his right hand – and that was safe , that the Iberians, who came up again in the final phase, would no longer have a chance that Denmark, which ultimately won 26:23, would make it into the final of the World Cup on Sunday against France (9 p.m. / Eurosport).

“It’s a great pleasure to be part of this team and to play a World Cup final for the third time in a row,” said the world handball player of the years 2019 and 2021 afterwards and immediately passed on any praise to his defense: “That was almost what the inner block has done is perfect.”

Landin and his defense were factors that were not only decisive in the last game, but throughout the tournament. But right now, when the ninth game can be played on the 18th day, where the legs are slowly getting heavy and the head tired, this is the key to success. That’s how it was in the Danes’ game against Spain, when the otherwise so convincing attacking series shot rates dropped by the best scorer still in the tournament, Mathias Gidsel, and that’s probably how it will be against the French, who have had a no less grueling tournament .

That’s neither professional nor good enough for a sport as big as ours.

France’s Nedim Remili on the stress of traveling at this World Cup.

“We don’t want to complain too much because it affects all teams, but it was quite a mess at times,” said Nedim Remili about the stress of appointments and travel at this World Cup and added critically: “It’s neither professional nor good enough for a sport as big as ours.” Remili was with France in Katowice, Krakow and Gdansk before the entourage moved to Sweden for the semifinals.

The Danes, on the other hand, first started their tour in Malmö and Stockholm. It became absurd because the team only flew to Gdansk for the game against Spain and from there started their return journey to the Swedish capital immediately after the game.

Sweden didn’t have to travel far but missed the final

The only nation that was largely spared from the flight frustration was co-host Sweden. Meanwhile, that didn’t help the European champions, who didn’t have a chance against France without their injured playmaker Jim Gottfridsson. The “Équipe”, on the other hand, could even afford not to use Nikola Karabatic at all, while other top performers came through the game in gentle gear.

And that is just as much an effect of the current planning. That the next game is always considered, that title aspirants are not necessarily concerned with playing well, but rather taking the next win with them. Big nations like France and Denmark can afford that with their broad squad, but the wear and tear is noticeable elsewhere.

In this respect it is hardly surprising that the current two-time world champion meets the record world champion in the final and that there were no big surprises during the tournament. But that certainly doesn’t make it any less interesting from a sporting point of view. Although Denmark could achieve something historic. Because if the Scandinavians win, they will be the first to win the world title three times in a row. “The dream is alive and we’ll throw everything into it,” said coach Nikolaj Jacobsen before the match. And that’s exactly how his goalkeeper Niklas Landin sees it, who wants to celebrate with his team again after the final.

Source: Tagesspiegel

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