For exactly a decade – from 1994 to 2004 –the Danish national team became one of the biggest sport successes, if not the biggest, of all time: Olympic champions in 1996, 2000 and 2004, world champions in 1997 and European champions in 1994, 1996 and 2002. However, what followed was an 11-year medal drought that finally ended in December 2013 when they won bronze at the World Championship.
Denmark nowadays have a strong team again in which more and more young players are integrated. Head coach Jan Pytlick can rely on the fact that the pool of talents will not dry out soon, as Denmark won the women’s competition at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival followed by double-bronze the same year, first at the Women’s 19 EHF EURO on home court, then at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO in Poland.
Despite her relatively small size of 1,74 metres Sandra Toft is one of the most promising goalkeepers in the world. She is fast, fearless and very intelligent with a great understanding of the game which allows her to have the anticipation which is such a necessary ‘weapon’ for any goalkeeper.
Unfortunately, she has been suffering for several injuries that delayed her international career and saw her only taking to the court in 40 internationals (as of September 2014) since her debut in 2008. But that time seems to be behind her now, and this summer she has taken another step in her career by joining Norwegian powerhouse Larvik HK.
Line Jorgensen has been regarded as one of the biggest talents in Danish women’s handball for many years as she celebrated her national team debut at the age of just 17 on 16 October 2007.
However, a couple of serious injuries forced her to step back a bit and it took a lot of hard work until she had eventually developed into one of the best defensive players in the world, something that was recognised when she was voted into the all-star team at the World Championship 2011 in Brazil. As of September 2014 she has scored 270 goals in 107 matches.
With Denmark she won bronze at the World Championship 2013 and with her club side, FC Midtjylland, she won the EHF Cup in 2011.
THE COACH - Jan Pytlick
Jan Pytlick, born in 1967, was an extremely talented playmaker, but had to give up playing already at the age of 19 because of a serious shoulder injury and then switched to coaching. At just 23 he was in charge of the women’s team of club side GOG and won the Danish championship three years in a row.
In 1998 he succeeded Ulrik Wilbek at the head of the women’s national team. After a silver medal at the European championship the same year, Pytlick celebrated his first major triumph when the Danish women’s team when they won gold at the Sydney Olympics 2000.
He and the team repeated this success in Athens four years later and – in between – won the European Championship on Danish soil in 2002. In 2005 Pytlick stepped down as national coach but when his successor, Brian Lyngholm, failed to achieve a good result at the EHF EURO 2006 Pytlick was called back and has been in charge ever since.
Pytlick is married to the former international player Berit Bogetoft. The couple has three children.
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