Only three days to go: Fine-tuning with new faces
The Women’s EHF EURO 2020 is just around the corner, with only three days before throw-off. All 16 teams are ready to go and finishing their last preparations.
While some teams have played meaningful friendly games over the weekend, other have reported late additions to the squad.
In this news update, we take a look at Spain, Hungary, Norway, Romania and hosts Denmark.
Spain: Brimming of confidence before the throw off
The Spanish side lost veteran back Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa due to injury, but their spirits are still sky high before the start of EHF EURO 2020. ‘Las Guerreras’ will face Russia, Sweden and Czech Republic in group B and they prepared for the challenge with a double-header over the weekend against Slovakia.
Spain won twice, 24:22 and 32:21, as coach Carlos Viver gave chances to all players to try and secure a place in the selection of 16 between which will take the court in Denmark. The SCM Ramnicu Valcea duo of right back Mireya Gonzalez and right wing Marta Lopez were Spain’s best scorers over the weekend, having five goals apiece.
Hungary: You win some, you lose some
With the FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria players on board, the Hungarian side jetted to Sweden, where they played their only two friendly games before the start of the EHF EURO 2020. The double-header against the Nordic side saw the two teams trading wins, as Hungary secured a 28:27 win on Saturday, while Sweden hit back on Sunday with a 31:25 win.
There were changes throughout the two sides, but it was Hungary’s right back, Katrin Klujber, who shone in the two games. FTC’s sharpshooter scored 13 goals in the two games, while line player Linn Blohm, who was named the best Swedish player in 2020, had seven goals.
Norway: A surprising late call-up
Four-time EHF EURO champion Katrine Lunde has joined the Norwegian side as a late addition, and will be eligible to play from the third match in the group phase, against Romania, as she will need to provide Covid-19 negative tests and get into shape. Initially Lunde was set to miss the EHF EURO due to pregnancy.
“We are sorry to have lost our unborn child, because we were looking forward to become a bigger family. Now, since this happened, I have resumed training and I reported to the Norwegian team for this competition,” said Lunde on the Norwegian Handball Federation’s official website.
The 41-year-old goalkeeper can tie Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren, Kari Aalvik Grimsbø and Karoline Dyhre Breivang as the only players to have won the EHF EURO five times. “It is a sad situation, but we give Katrine and her husband our support and we expect her to join the team after a week of preparations with our reserve side,” Thorir Hergeirsson said.
Romania: Roller-coaster week for medal hopefuls
Romania are one of the teams that eye a medal at EHF EURO 2020 and a successful group phase will likely boost their morale. However, last week has been full of ups and downs for Bogdan Burcea’s side.
Romania welcomed back goalkeeper Yuliya Dumanska. She tested negative for Covid-19 several times after for several Podravka Vegeta teammates had positive results. Dumanska has already trained with her teammates and took part in the official photoshoot for the Romanian team.
However, the fourth-place team at EHF EURO 2018 received a huge blow on Sunday, when Crina Pintea tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the tournament. The line player of the EHF EURO 2018 All-star Team was isolated and will not travel to Denmark, as Romania will rely on talented, but inexperienced Lorena Ostase and Alexandra Subtirica as line players.
Denmark: Answer your phone!
Helene Elver was the latest scratch for Denmark, after the 22-year-old centre back suffered an injury in the warm-up for the friendly game against Norway last week. Immediately, coach Jesper Jensen nominated another player, with 24-year-old Viborg centre back Laura Damgaard replacing Elver.
Yet Damgaard could have missed the EHF EURO 2020 due to not answering her phone. As Jensen called, Damgaard did not recognise the number as it was not saved on her phone, did she didn’t take the call. “I looked up the number to see if it was indeed coach Jensen. I called and he asked me to come to Vejle, where the team was set up. I packed a bag and drove off,” said Damgaard, according to Danish broadcaster TV2.
Damgaard made her debut in last week’s friendly game against Norway, a 29:26 loss, but will look to help make up for it in the Danish team’s opener at the EHF EURO 2020 against Slovenia on Friday.