The European Open started off on Monday morning with victories for both France and Finland. Around lunchtime it was the host nation’s turn to enter the tournament.
Sweden got off to a perfect start of the game in the team’s opening match against Italy. They scored the first goal already in the first attack and five minutes in, the lead was 3-0. Italy then developed better into the match and tried to increase the pace in the match. However, it could relatively early be seen that Sweden was a slightly stronger team this time. In half-time, the scoreboard showed 12-8 and eventually Sweden won by 22-16.
Hanna Popaja, starting goalkeeper in team Sweden, saved a penalty and played a big role in the team’s strong opening
“I thought we had good control. We led the match and we did well considering it was our first match”.
Popaja was also pleased with her own performance, although it was a bit of a new experience to play in front of many fans and a loud surrounding.
“I thought I did well, although I could have done a little better in the end. But it’s still okay, I was quite nervous”.
She describes team Sweden as strong in the defense. Regarding the goal of the tournament, it is clear that the finals in Scandinavium is something that is attracting.
Despite the loss, the feeling in the Italian camp was still positive after the match.
“I thought we were doing well, but we met a team that was technically better. The girls fought from start to finish so we are still pleased with what we performed”.
“We knew we would meet better teams here, but our goal is to grow stronger for future championships”.
European Open is the national team tournament for the G16 and the finals are held on Friday. The tournament consists of 20 teams divided into four groups, where Sweden and Italy are in group A.