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Christian Berge stays with Norway's national team

NEWS REPORT: After six months of being temporary coach, the 40-year-old Berge has been appointed permanent national coach for Norway

Photo: Norwegian Handball Federation

40-year-old Christian Berge has been appointed permanent coach for Norway's men's national team after having been temporary coach since February this year.

Berge took over when former Swedish international Robert Hedin stepped down after Norway's disappointing results at the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark in January, where the Norwegian team bowed out already after the group phase.

After long negotiations between the Norwegian Handball Federation and Elverum HH where Christian Berge has been coaching the local league team alongside his temporary national coach position, Elverum has agreed to let Berge go.

"We have not agreed yet, just for how long the arrangement is going to be, but the idea is for us to work together until 2020," Christian Berge tells ehf-euro.com, referring to the fact that Norway has applied for hosting the EHF EURO 2020 in a joint bid together with Austria and Sweden.

A long-term project

After the disappointing EHF EURO 2014 and failing to qualify for the World Championship 2015, Christian Berge is well aware that his task will be to bring the men's national team back to former strength.

"We have a very young and very talented team who is able to perform very well already, but who is not ready to produce top performances at a consistent level yet.

"Therefore it is a rather long-term project I'm starting now," admits Berge who played 63 internationals for Norway in his active days when he represented current VELUX EHF Champions League winners, SG Flensburg-Handewitt, among other top clubs.

The next challenge awaits Berge and his team in the qualification for the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland for which his team has been drawn to Group 1 alongside Croatia, Netherlands and Turkey.

written by Peter Bruun / ts