Handball World Cup: Sander Sagosen’s trick look | Sports

The Norwegian player Sander Sagosen, this World Cup.
The Norwegian player Sander Sagosen, this World Cup.STIAN LYSBERG SOLUM (AFP)

Handball asks the same rhetorical and bombastic questions as everyone else. Who is the best player on the planet? There is no possible answer to such a question, but in the pool I’m sure that sooner or later Sander Sagosen (Trondheim, 27 years old) appears, the Norwegian front row who this Wednesday (6:00 p.m., Teledeporte) threatens Spain in the World Cup quarterfinals, the man that has propelled his team to the elite (world silver in 2017 and 2019, and European bronze in 2020). At the end of November he returned after 175 days injured and now seeks his throne. In the edition two years ago, the ones that blocked his way in this same round were the Hispanics (31-26) in a duel in which he could only play 22 minutes, also due to physical problems.

Norway wasn’t much of a thing until its irruption, so his country thanks him for the growth spurt and science set out to study the star, to prepare a kind of sports autopsy. He has always said that he plays by intuition, that he doesn’t remember a single thought of his best games. He just comes out. For this reason, researchers from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, in Oslo, tried a couple of years ago to dig out what was behind this unconsciousness. They put special glasses on him, with a built-in camera, to study what exactly he saw while he played, what eye movements he made.

The first conclusion was his great ability to scan each situation on the track and interpret what was happening faster than the rest. “Where others see chaos, for him it is as if everything were in slow motion,” detailed the study, collected by the Norwegian media. NRK. But the most curious thing came when he checked where exactly he was fixing his gaze. He hardly nailed it directly into the goal or the goalkeeper when shooting, and almost never into the arms and feet of defenders. He did it, naturally, on the neck and chest of his rivals. Why? According to the theory of the scientists, because that helped him to improve the peripheral vision of the goalkeeper, the rest of the players and the corner area. And in the case of penalties, they also observed that he could look at one corner but, in reality, he focused on the other thanks to that peripheral vision. Of course, outside of 40×20, the analysis showed that it was as common as the rest of humanity.

return to his city

He has once confessed that as a child he was thinner and smaller than his peers, and that he had to use his brain more. He then saw matches of the great teams of the moment with his family and they commented on them. His mother would also record him while he played, and then they would check on them at dinner time.

Sander Sagosen, nicknamed “Sagi” or “The King of the North” in Norway, flirted with soccer, although he gave it up early because he realized that he “could not be the best” there. In handball he progressed rapidly at the Trondheim club Kolstad, which he left at just 17 years old. He went through Halsum (2013-14), also Norwegian, was promoted to Danish Aalborg (2014-17) and was part of the huge PSG project (2017-2020), where he formed a unique trident with Mikkel Hansen and Nikola Karabatic who, as his older brother in football, ran out of the Champions League (he continues without her). The crown was achieved at his next destination, Kiel in Germany, in 2020.

He has been in northern Germany since 2020 and from there he will leave at the end of this campaign because in his city, in Kolstad, a young entity (2005) with modest results so far has entered such a powerful sponsor (the supermarket chain Row 1000) that has recruited him at the checkbook to reach the top of Europe. Among the signings also appear Magnus Rod, the goal Torbjörn Bergerud and Magnus Gullerud. “My intention is to retire here,” Sagosen has proclaimed. At the moment, the most immediate thing for this 1.95 center-back or left-back is this World Cup, in which he has scored 24 goals and 22 assists, and Spain, with which he has some pending account.

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