National Handball Team Advances to Euro Main Round

Iceland Advances to Main Group

The Icelandic National Handball Team advanced to the main round of the 2020 EHF European Men’s Handball Championship yesterday. Iceland beat Russia 34:23 and sits atop Group E with four points.

The Icelandic National Handball Team played its second match of the EHF European Men’s Handball Championship against Russia yesterday. Iceland had the upper hand for the entire game, enjoying a seven-goal lead during half time. The team played well during the second half, beating the Russians by 11 goals. The final score was 34:23. As Iceland won its opening match against Denmark on Saturday, the team has secured four points after two rounds.

Shortly after Iceland’s match against Russia, Olympic Champions Denmark faced off against Hungary – desperately needing a win; Denmark had zero points after a first-round loss against Iceland. Hungary, on the other hand, had secured two points following a narrow win against Russia. Securing an early advantage, Hungary maintained their lead for almost the entire match. With only a few minutes remaining of the game, the Hungarians were leading by two goals (23:21). The Danes mustered a comeback, scoring three goals in quick succession (23:24). In the final moments of the game, Hungarian Zoltan Szita equalised. Danish captain Mikkel Hansen had the opportunity of securing a Danish win, but goalkeeper Roland Mikler rebuffed his attempt. Final score 24:24.

Denmark’s loss means that Iceland sits atop Group E with four points, Hungary has three points, Denmark has one point and Russia zero points. Iceland is, therefore, the only team in Group E that has advanced to the main round.

The final round of the group stages will take place next Wednesday, January 15.

Iceland Beats Denmark in European Handball Championships

European Handball Championships Iceland 2020

Icelanders rejoiced last Saturday as the National Handball Team beat Denmark in their first 2020 European Championships match in Malmö, Sweden. As 2016 Olympic champions, Denmark was the clear favourite going into the match, but what made the victory even sweeter was that Iceland’s coach, Guðmundur Guðmundsson, is the one who coached Denmark to that Olympic win.

The teams were neck and neck throughout the match. While Denmark appeared to have a slight advantage in the first half, the second half started 15-15. With 92 seconds to go, Icelandic captain Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson secured a two-goal lead of 31-29. The Danes nevertheless brought that score to 31-30 – and had a chance to equalise with a penalty throw at the very end of the match. The throw was saved by Icelandic veteran goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson, giving Iceland the win with a final score of 31-30.

The Icelandic team plays Russia this afternoon at 5.15pm.

Men’s National Handball Team Prepares for Euro 2020

Captain of the National Handball Team Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson

The Men’s National Handball team will play its opening match at the 2020 EHF European Men’s Handball Championship against Denmark next Saturday, January 11. Team captain Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson, who turned 40 last summer, will be competing at the EURO for the eleventh time. In an interview yesterday, Guðjón Valur expressed his gratitude for still being able to compete at the highest level.

The 2020 EHF European Men’s Handball Championship will take place between January 9 to January 26. It will be the first time that competition is co-hosted in three countries, Austria, Norway and Sweden. Iceland was drawn into Group E alongside Denmark, Hungary, and Russia.

At a press conference held at Alvogen headquarters in Reykjavík yesterday afternoon, Iceland Review spoke to captain Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson. He will be competing at the EURO for the eleventh time. No other Icelandic handball player has participated in the competition as often. Guðjón Valur admitted that a lot had changed in his roughly twenty-year career with the national team.

“You learn from the mistakes you’ve made; from the coaches and the teams you’ve played with; from the poor performances; from that meal you ate too close to game time. As you grow older, you begin focusing more on sleep, diet, mental health. Everything. Whether that’s experience speaking or just me getting older and more emotional – I can’t say. Hopefully, you grow wiser, smarter, and more crafty as you grow older. It would be a shame if I were making the same mistakes today as when I was twenty.”

Guðjón Valur played his first match with the national team in December 1999. No other outfield player has played as many matches for the national team. Guðjón Valur is also the highest-scoring handball player in the history of the national team.

“I have learned a lot from having spent my entire life as a handball player.”

When asked about the biggest change, in terms of stepping onto the court today as compared to 20 years ago, Guðjón Valur spoke of gratitude.

“Today, I’m just grateful for being able to do this. I don’t take it for granted anymore. When one is 20, 25 years old, everything is a piece of cake. One stays up later, sleeps less, and can eat hamburgers and hot-dogs every meal. When one reaches one’s forties, however, sleep becomes more important. So does spending time with family.”