2 December 2016
Each week, we offer you a full portrait of one of the players that will be in the spotlights during the World Championships 2017, with the help from one of the four ambassadors of the competition. This week, Sander Sagosen as seen by Bruno Martini.
Thus far, Sander Sagosen’s career-path has been that of a gifted player who comes up very fast through the ranks leading to the top. Norwegian international at 18 years-old, in November 2013, he left his homeland a few months later to join the Danish club Aalborg. Able to be an inspired playmaker, as well as he is able to score on solo efforts, the young center back rapidly burst on the scene, especially in Champions League. At this time, the biggest European clubs were already following him, but his rate increased even more at the Euro 2016 in Poland, where Norway defied the odds reaching the 4th place, the best result ever in an international competition for the Norway men’s handball team. After two blazing weeks, Sagosen was chosen as the best center back of the tournament, and was the youngest player in the Euro 2016 All-Star team. Two-times elected as the best young international player by Handball Planet website in 2015 and 2016, Sagosen will join PSG next season, in order to continue his rise. In January, the French spectators will though discover the one who will soon be a major player in the Lidl Starligue, and who is already, at 21, the main asset of the unpredictable Norwegian selection.
Bruno Martini about Sander Sagosen
“I think he is the player of the future. He’s a very versatile player, and his talent really erupted at the last European Championship. Norway has struggled a little bit since then, but I am convinced that he will be among the greats. He reminds me of Nikola Karabatic, who could also play left back or center back when he started. He’s got a very wide game palette, he can play inside the defense or shoot through from distance, and he is also able to make the others play well. Thanks to his Scandinavian culture, his technique is very complete. He is a leader, he knows where he is going. We will welcome him with pleasure next year at PSG ! He will be among the five best international players very soon. He still has some weaknesses, he is not the best defender, but at his age, you can learn fast. He also has to be confronted to high standards on a daily basis, and that’s one of the reason he’s coming to PSG next summer. At the 2017 World Championship, Norway will be awaited with curiosity, because this team showed some very interesting things during Euro 2016. But it remains to be seen whether they have coped well with this 4th place in Poland, and whether they can establish as a top team. Sander Sagosen will obviously play a decisive role to that end.”
Sander Sagosen about the 2017 World Championship
“It is my first World Championship, so of course I am really excited. And with our good result in Poland in the Euro 2016, I am really looking forward to it. I really like France, and it is the country I am going to live in for the next years, so I am happy that this World Championship takes place in France. Our goal is first to go out of our group in a good position. And my dream is to go as far as we did in the Euro 2016 and maybe even further. But first we have to start with the group phase. I think we have a quite tough group. France is the strongest team. They are playing at home, and have a really strong team. Poland also has a strong team, but they have had some struggle lately. Though I think they will be strong in January. Russia are a really physical team, the players are big and shoot a lot from distance. Japan play really fast handball with some smaller players, but they compensate back with a lot of speed. Brazil is a team that plays with a lot of enthusiasm. They played good in the Olympics in Rio, so it is a strong side for us to face.”
The phenomenal play
As skilful as he is strong, Sagosen is able to blow up the defence alone. Here is a telling example of what he can do, an incredible solo goal scored in the Euro 2016 semi-final lost by Norway against Germany in overtime (33-34). In the midst of the rough German defence, the Norwegian gets rid of three opponents and then beat Andreas Wolff with a perfectly placed shot. Phenomenal indeed, from start to finish.
Picture : Svein Andre Svendsen/NHF