From a German perspective, the Handball World Cup has so far been a single success story. With five wins in six games, the national team is playing one of the most successful tournaments of all time. It is not yet foreseeable where the journey will end: on Wednesday evening the team meets France.
An Icelander has played a major role in the run of the German men: Alfred Gislason, who has held the position of national coach since 2020. He had to go through a tough time parallel to his new job: his wife died of cancer in 2021. Kara-Gudrun was not only his wife for over 40 years. She was even more: she was his childhood sweetheart, they had known each other since he was twelve.
But now there is a new woman at his side. Half a year ago he appeared on Instagram for the first time alongside a new partner. Hrund Gunnsteinsdóttir came into his life unplanned, the 63-year-old revealed to "Welt". "It wasn't my plan at all, it just happened," he said in an interview with the daily newspaper.
The two met at a business meeting. Gunnsteinsdóttir is a journalist and asked Gislason for an interview. It turned out that her father was his assistant coach on his first international trip with the senior national team. Shortly thereafter, both agreed to have a meal together, and it apparently sparked.
Parallel to their own happy story, the German team has also been able to improve steadily in the almost three years under Gislason: While it was only enough for 12th place at the 2021 World Cup, the boys improved at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and advanced to the quarter-finals. At the EM 2022, they took seventh place despite numerous people suffering from corona. It could be even better at this World Cup.
But even if Germany were to fail against six-time world champions France, the team thrilled millions of TV viewers with the spectacular games and won many new fans for handball.
After his private roller coaster ride in the past few years, Alfred Gislason should be relaxed about the decisive game: his happiness in life does not depend on a single game.
Source used: "world"