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HANDBALL

Powerhouse France too much for Norway in handball championship

Defending champions France made it three wins in three when a 31-28 triumph over Norway edged them closer to the quarter-finals of the world handball championships on Sunday.

Powerhouse France too much for Norway in handball championship
France's centre back Nikola Karabatic vies with Norway's pivot Bjarte Myrhol (R) during the 25th IHF Men's World Championship 2017 Group A handball match France vs Norway on January , 2017 at the Par
Having already seen off Brazil 31-16 and Japan 31-19, man of the match Nikola Karabatic and Kentin Mahe hit five goals each for France while Magnus Jondal scored six for Norway.
 
“Nikola (Karabatic) scored some important goals. This is more than just about one man, though, all the guys played well. I'd say that we passed our first test,” said France winger Michael Guigou.
 
Karabatic added: “This was almost a little final in the group given that they had beaten Russia and Poland. Now we must keep going like this.”
 
Next up for Norway is a key group match against Brazil on Tuesday. If the Norwegians can win that, they may be in a position to be the masters of their own destiny heading in to a Thursday match with Japan. 
 
In the other Group A match on Sunday, Brazil downed Japan 27-24.
 
In Group C, European champions Germany crushed Chile 35-14 with star player Uwe Gensheimer hitting four penalties and Rune Dahmke scoring seven goals from 11 shots.
 
Jannik Kohlbacher was the best scorer in the match with eight goals. The only setback for Germany was an injury suffered by right wing Tobias Reichmann 15 minutes before the end. He twisted his ankle while landing after a shot.
 
“We sealed the deal and kept our focus high in defence and attack,” said German pivot Patrick Wiencek. “We could not expect that it would be an easy match like it was in the end. We hope that Tobias Reichmann will be OK.”
 
In Group D action, Norway's Scandinavian brethren Denmark and Sweden will face off on Monday night as the Danes look to follow their Olympic gold medals with the world championship. 

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HANDBALL

Norway backs out of co-hosting Euro handball champs with Denmark over Covid

Norway has pulled out of co-hosting the women's European handball championship just two weeks before the start in December due to restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic, its federation said on Monday.

Norway backs out of co-hosting Euro handball champs with Denmark over Covid
Denmark playing against Norway at last year's handball world cup in Japan. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

“Based on in-depth assessments by Norwegian health authorities as well as clear demands from Norwegian political authorities, it is now clear that Norway cannot be an organiser of the women's European handball championship,” the federation said.

Denmark is now considering whether to host the event on its own.

Strict restrictions are however currently in place in the North Jutland region, where some of the matches were due to be played, after a mutated version of the virus was found in the country's mink population, infecting 12 people.

The European Handball Federation “very much regrets the decision of the Norwegian government”, it said in a statement, referring to the Norwegian health authorities' refusal to grant exemptions to the strict measures it has imposed.

Under current rules, if a player or team official tests positive for the virus the entire team must quarantine, as well as the teams that it has opposed just prior.

The rules are less strict in Denmark.

“Alternatives are being sought with the Danish Handball Association and additional information will be released on Tuesday at the latest,” the European Handball Federation said.

Norway had been due to host around 60 percent of matches, including the final, in Trondheim.

While Norway has been one of the countries in Europe least affected by the pandemic, it has seen a recent uptick in cases which has led authorities to introduce a series of measures, notably on cultural and sporting events.

READ ALSO: Extra coronavirus restrictions 'halve travel' inside Danish region

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