Great start for Sweden in EOC

Sweden has had a brilliant start at this year’s edition of the European Open Championship. Monday’s second victory was secured after 29-13 against Switzerland.

As in Monday’s first match, Sweden was the team that started most promising. Early, the team went up to a 3-0 lead and there was much positivity with how they played. Elias Hall continued to be calm from seven meters and at the back it was Mattias Wighall who this time got the chance to play from start in the goal. He responded well for the coach trusting him, as he showed up quick reflexes. The coach Tomas Axnér has stressed the team’s great goalkeepers and it showed once again.

Sweden led with 11-2 already after 15 minutes of the game and the impressive defensive performance was thus combined with an offensive that did the same. At half time there were still nine goals that separated the teams, with the score 16-7.
– It was really good. We were in place directly and it was a great performance. Wighall got hold of a lot at the beginning. We knew that they would play very aggressively and took the edge of that game, then we showed that we have better handball players at all positions, said Axnér.

Marcus Lennernäs was the player who gained momentum in the second half. He started goal scoring after three goalless minutes and showed high level later as well. From the right-hand side he then had the opportunity to get to a more central position, timed a perfect start before he put the ball in the top corner.

Sweden’s defense proved to be robust the game through and the victory was never threatened. The Swedish U17 national team continued to play disciplined over all 50 minutes of the match and managed to win by 29-13. The fact that the game plan has worked so well in this early stage is something Axnér is delighted with.
– We have not had more than three training sessions and I am surprised that they have been able to absorb so much. Then we have chosen game openings that most play in their club teams too – we have some RIK players and some from Sävehof but we have also started divide the usual formations so that we do not have to be dependent on special needs.

With two wins in two matches, now is the time to look ahead to the rest of the tournament and it is also possible to distinguish initial tendencies in which teams will be far ahead when the medals are to be handed out.
– I’m very happy with what we have been performing so far, of course. I’ve seen where the bar is in this tournament and it may be quite high. The Faroe Islands and Hungary looked very good, Spain looked pretty good but then I haven’t seen the team’s in Romania’s group yet. To get far, however, we need to further develop our game.

Erik Malmqvist
Foto: Daniel Stiller