Win for host nation in EOC
On Monday morning, the European Open Championship, the tournament for U17 national teams for men, began at Valhalla.
For the host nation, Russia was the opening opponent and Sweden was the team that got off to the best start. They scored the first goal of the game and just over ten minutes in, they were up by three with 6-3 on the scoreboard. Oscar Sävinger impressed in goal game with some tremendous saves. Towards the end of the half the Russians did well and came closer. At the signal for half time the Swedish lead was 11-9.
The second half of the match initially belonged to Sweden. With one player more, the team scored the first three goals and were able to regain the lead with five goals. Something that stood out in the match was the team’s ability to score on the counterattacks.
A key to these effective plays was the quick start from the goalkeepers. If it was Sävinger who delivered in the first half, it was his colleague Love Olind Gruden who did it in the second.
“We have three really good goalkeepers in this tournament and if we get them to play at a normal level, then it is a strength we have”, said Swedish coach Tomas Axnér.
We could also see some players making the best to deliver some nice plays. No-look passes and great timing when winning back the ball made the crowd cheer. Both sequences also led to Swedish goals. Although Russia recovered promising from the strong Swedish start of the half, it was ultimately a convincing Swedish opening win. Sweden won 28-21 and Axnér was satisfied afterwards.
“First off, it was really fun to have started. We’ve had lots of camps and I have seen the players at the Swedish championships, but this was the first international match and obviously, it’s fun to have it done and that we won”.
“It’s awesome for the players to debut for the national team debuted and there were probably many who were a little nervous and didn’t know what was to expect. We had no prior knowledge of Russia before this match, but at the same time the guys are quite used to it because they play many tournaments”.