SUMMARY: Denmark, Norway dominate semis to set up EHF EURO final
The final weekend of the Women's EHF EURO 2022 has opened Friday, with Denmark (beating Montenegro) and Norway (beating France) setting up an all-Scandinavian final. Earlier Friday, Sweden beat Netherlands in the match for fifth place.
- day 15 of the Women's EHF EURO 2022
- DENMARK AND NORWAY ADVANCE TO THE EHF EURO 2022 FINAL
- start of the final weekend in Ljubljana:
Denmark beat Montenegro 27:23 and defending champions Norway defeat France 28:20 in the semi-finals; Sweden finish in fifth place after beating Netherlands 37:32
- recorded matches available in full and as highlight video on EHFTV (geo-restrictions apply)
- find the latest stories and other news in the dedicated EHF EURO section on eurohandball.com
- the vote for the All-star Team is open until Saturday 23:59 CET
- Eric Willemsen reporting from Ljubljana; all photos (c) kolektiff / Jozo Cabraja, Jure Erzen, Axel Heimken, Uros Hocevar, Anze Malovrh, Sasa Pahic Szabo
Friday 18 November 2022
Only one more playing day at this EHF EURO to go – but what a day it is going to be: France meet Montenegro again in the bronze medal match, and Denmark and Norway go head-to-head again in the big final on Sunday night!
Of course, much more on that in the live blog on Saturday!
For tonight, our coverage of this thrilling opening of the final weekend ends here. Thanks for joining us and see you again tomorrow, with lots of preview stuff coming your way ahead of our Super Sunday! Have a good night and enjoy our daily selection of pictures in the gallery:
Great gesture from the great Allison Pineau after France lost the semi-final:
We have seen it many times in the past, we have seen it again today: Norway seem to always step up to the occasion. The bigger, the better.
Here is the match review written by EHF journalist Courtney Gahan:
Hard night for France, whose perfect run this tournament – winning six from six matches – is ended abruptly in an eight-goal defeat at the hands of Norway.
France line player Béatrice Edwige is gracious in defeat:
Today it was not our day, it was the day of Norway. And congrats, because they really deserve this victory, today they were better than us. I don't want to find any excuses.
Norway are through to their 12th EHF EURO final. Looks though they don't get bored of it at all:
What a demonstration from Norway! They have just outplayed France in the second half, only two days after they truly struggled against Denmark in their main round closer.
Here are the first words from Norway left back Henny Reistad after the game:
We played so good today in every part of the play. I am so impressed by the girls. After the last match against Denmark, we improved, especially in defence and the goalkeeper. I am just so happy right now.
21:57 RESULT | NORWAY VS FRANCE 28:20 (12:11)
NORWAY ADVANCE TO THE FINAL; WILL PLAY DENMARK FOR THE TITLE.
This should be it: Norway soaring further ahead: 26:20 with six minutes left.
It all looks like we are going to have another Norway vs Denmark match this week – this time in the big final on Sunday!
Going into the last 10 minutes and Norway are four goals up! Is this the decision? They hardly give anything away in defence so how do France make up this difference?!
Norway 20, France 17. With this defence from the Scandinavians, three goals is a serious lead. Penalty specialist Nora Mørk with eight from eight the best scorer this match.
The difference is still two after 10 minutes: 18:16 for Norway, as France, who have won all matches this EHF EURO so far, are running into the strongest defence they have met all tournament.
Norway go 15:13 up within four minutes of the second half. Can they keep it up? Certainly when Silje Solberg remains in this kind of form for the rest of the match:
Fair to say Stine Oftedal and Nora Mørk have been the guiding players for Norway in the first half:
21:04 HALF-TIME | NORWAY VS FRANCE 12:11
Defence is key in this second semi-final, as expected with these two teams. We are certainly in for a thrilling second half. Let's see if EHF journalist Courtney Gahan agrees with that:
"Stine Oftedal turned up ready to play today alright! The centre back scored all of Norway’s goals from the field up to the 23rd minute, mostly from a wicked ground shot snuck through the defence low at the hip, and drew many penalties converted by Nora Mørk. Beating this in-form France goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux is difficult for sure, and the best chance seems to be these invisible shots that Oftedal is proving so adept at putting away.
France did not wait long to move from their standard 6-0 defence to a 5-1 in order to control Oftedal, changing to Estelle Nze Minko in front around the 15-minute mark. Norway responded by moving Oftedal to the left back and that forced France back to 6-0, and France did not try 5-1 again.
Although they have not contained Norway as much as they might like, France have a more well-rounded effort at the other end of the court, in attack. France’s greater depth may end up being a decisive factor here, as so far Oftedal and Mørk have shouldered most of the responsibility — can they keep it up?"
We are at 10:10 and half of the Norwegian production has come from Nora Mørk's penalties; they are just unstoppable! (She has missed only one this entire tournament.)
Team timeout France. We are all square at 8:8 but coach Olivier Krumbholz want to speak to his players, who have missed too many of their chances so far.
A high-pace fight full of energy!
We are 20 minutes into the match and Norway lead 8:7.
What is very remarkable: Stine Oftedal is the only Norwegian to score from open play, four times. The other four Norwegian goals have all been penalties, converted by Nora Mørk.
The opening 12 minutes belong to Norway. Stine Oftedal already nets her fourth of the match as she puts Norway 6:4 up against France.
Norway or France? France or Norway?
So hard to predict this one... Norway have been dominating women's handball for years, but the record and defending champions have looked a touch vulnerable in their latest matches – and indeed lost their last main round game against Denmark.
Will they get a chance to play Denmark again very soon, or keep France their flawless winning run in this tournament, in what is their coach Olivier Krumbholz's 500th match in charge?
Bring it on!
So, the big question: who is going to play Denmark in Sunday's final?
It will be either Norway or France, two teams that have played so many big matches against each other in recent years. They just had to come across each other this tournament again, although already in the semi-final this time.
The teams are ready to rock Ljubljana in the late match today.
A special edition of our daily photo series featuring women in sport, a cooperation between EHF and kolektiff:
For media operations to run smoothly at the Women's EHF EURO 2022 ❤, a lot of preparation, organisation, coordination and work is needed before and during the event. Jelena Bagarić is the woman behind the event's media ops and she makes sure all the wheels are rolling in the right direction! Jelena is a true example of empowerment and is an inspiration to many!
The 2004 final was their last one, but Denmark's next EHF EURO final is coming up in two days! Here is their semi-final match review written by Courtney Gahan:
Montenegro have been fighting once again with everything they have, but it has proved not enough to beat a strong Danish side tonight. Let's hear from their top scorer tonight with seven goals, Djurdjina Jaukovic:
It was a tough game but I can say that I am really proud of my team. We fought the whole 60 minutes but I think in the end Denmark had a longer bench. We need to stand up, I think we played a great game, nice for watching. We really want a medal, we waited 10 years for it, and I think we really deserve it.
No further explanation needed:
What a win for Denmark! Here is the first reaction of Kathrine Heindahl, explaining what it means to them:
It means everything. We have been on such a long journey with this team, so we know that we should just continue, continue, continue, and then the results will also be with us. So, now one final game and we go to win this game.
Tears are flowing on the court of Stožice Arena! Denmark are back in the EHF EURO final after 18 years, when their glorious spell ended. Can a new one start this weekend?!
Let's see next who they are going to play: Norway again like earlier this week, or France!
19:17 RESULT | DENMARK VS MONTENEGRO 27:23 (14:10)
DENMARK ARE TROUGH TO THE FINAL OF THE WOMEN'S EHF EURO 2022!
Celebrations on the Danish bench starting. They lead 26:22 with one minute left!
Is this game running away from Montenegro now? The deficit remains around four or five goals – but the clock is ticking. Six minutes left... Emma Friis now on seven goals for Denmark as well, just like Montenegro's Djurdjina Jaukovic, who needed 13 attempts for that, though.
The Stožice Arena is shaking halfway through the second half. A strong physical battle on the court, a fantastic atmosphere among the 3,600 fans on the stands!
Denmark back into a four-goal lead, 19:15.
Very similar start of the second half to the start of the first. Montenegro come out all guns blazing with a 4:0 run to level at 14:14 – only for Denmark to restore their lead again. It is 16:14 after 10 minutes.
Denmark shut out for the first five minutes of the second half as Montenegro reduce the gap to two thanks to two more goals from Djurdjina Jaukovic, raising her total to seven for the match. It is 14:12!
A key factor in Denmark's recovery from that early three-goal deficit has been their defence, led by goalkeeper Sandra Toft. Six terrific saves already, which has contributed to Montenegro's 10-minute goalless spell midway though the first half.
18:24 HALF-TIME | DENMARK VS MONTENEGRO 14:10
What a battle in the first half! Montenegro off to a flying start, but Denmark keeping their cool and carving out a four-goal lead. Here is EHF journalist Courtney Gahan again:
"The best defence is designed to keep the middle of the court tight and push opponents to shoot from the narrowest angles on the wings. Denmark have brought their great defence to this match — the problem was that Montenegro had Jovanka Radicevic waiting to deliver in the corner. At least, that was the problem early on.
The start of the game was the Radicevic and Djurdjina Jaukovic show, as the two combined for all six of Montenegro’s goals as they took the lead, with Jaukovic finding some great outside chances when the defence did not step up fast enough.
But after Montenegro enjoyed their very strong start, Denmark started to favour more long-range shots on the back court and also found gaps in the defence to rapidly come back and take the advantage. Considering the depth Denmark have on the back court, it feels very much as though they will continue to capitalise on that and make their way to their first EHF EURO final since 2004."
Denmark taking control of this match now after their tough start. They go from 6:3 down to 11:7 ahead as Montenegro had a 10-minute spell without goal. Nine minutes left in the first half, but this feels like it could be a decisive phase.
First team timeout for Montenegro. A 4:0 run Denmark has turned Montenegro's early 6:3 advantage completely around. It is 7:6 for Denmark and Bojana Popovic understandably calls the timeout halfway through the first half.
An intense start to this match. Three goals by Djurdjina Jaukovic help Montenegro to a 6:4 lead after nine minutes.
According to our data analyst and journalist, Julian Rux, their shots is what Montenegro will be relying on against Denmark. Read his great analysis with all the details here.
Denmark or Montenegro? Montenegro or Denmark? We are going to find out soon.
In the match preview, EHF journalist Adrian Costeiu points out that, after winning three of the first five EHF EURO tournaments, Denmark have not reached the final again since 2004, when they won silver – they last medal at European championships.
Montenegro’s successes in the competition are more recent: they are in their third semi-final at the EHF EURO after winning one in 2012, when they went on and secured the trophy, and losing one two years later.
Before we take a closer look at the teams playing the first semi-final at 17:45 CET, here are the rules in case this match, or the second semi-final later today, ends in a draw after the regular 60 minutes' playing time.
First, there will be an extra time played of two times five minutes.
Still no decision? There will be another extra time played of two times five minutes.
And still no decision? Only then we go to a shootout.
Today's EHF EURO Live Show Watchalong on Twitch had started! Make sure to join in – either here on top of the live blog or directly on the Home of Handball Twitch channel. Lots of fun, lots of serious analysis too, with lots of prominent guests!
Semi-final time! We have two big games coming up and it is a pleasure to start with Denmark against Montenegro, the teams that advanced from the main round as the winners of group I and the runners-up of group II, respectively.
The teams are currently warming up here in Stožice Arena, throw off in just under 40 minutes from now. Good to see Montenegro back Milena Raicevic on court, since she was doubtful with an injury but apparently fit now to play in the semi-final.
A special match for Jamina Roberts, who has become the outright No. 1 on the list of Swedish internationals with most matches at the EHF EURO: 48, now one clear of Isabelle Gulldén. This and more in the match review written by Courtney Gahan:
Two teams that came to the EHF EURO for at least the semi-finals, but missed them. Sweden have dealt better with the disappointment and take a deserved win over Netherlands to place fifth.
Let's hear from Swedish line player Linn Blohm:
We wanted to be in the semi-finals, so it was hard to reload. But today I feel we were really here, we wanted to run the whole game, and we did it. Now it is just relief and we can be a little bit more happier. I think we played some amazing games, some amazing defence, also the goalkeepers. I think maybe this was one of our best tournaments, similar to the Olympics.
16:28 RESULT | SWEDEN VS NETHERLANDS 37:32 (21:16)
Congrats Sweden! They take fifth place with a high-scoring win over Netherlands, their first official win against the Dutch in 12 years.
Player of the Match is Nathalie Hagman, who has also gone top of the top scorers ranking now, adding nine for a total of 48.
In the end, this is going Sweden's way. Their lead is back to five with less than three minutes left: 36:31.
A quarter into the second half, and we have a match on again: Dutch goalkeeper Yara ten Holte scores in an empty goal for 28:26.
When Dione Housheer gets the hammer out of her toolkit:
The gap remains at five after seven minutes: Sweden 26, Netherlands 21. Nathalie Hagman with five goals, and on 44 for the tournament, which puts her level with top scorer Alina Grijseels on 44.
15:38 HALF-TIME | SWEDEN VS NETHERLANDS 21:16
Netherlands end the first half on a 6:2 run to make the half-time score look a bit better, but it is Sweden who have clearly dominated so far. Let's hear from EHF journalist Courtney Gahan at the game in Ljubljana:
"Sweden are looking stronger in this encounter and the journey of the two sides through the EHF EURO 2022 shows they could be expected to: although both they and the Netherlands only just missed the semi-finals, Sweden’s only defeats were to semi-finalists Norway and Denmark. In contrast, the Netherlands lost to semi-finalists France, as well as Germany, and they drew with Spain.
One could argue group II was tougher, but Sweden are showing why they had such strong results with this clear advantage at the break and their control of the first half from the seventh minute on. The Scandinavian team’s attack is generally looking stronger, but it is between the posts where the key difference is being made, as Jessica Ryde has been highly effective with 10 saves. At half-time, it looks as though Sweden are on track for their second straight fifth-place finish at a major championship."
Sweden are clearly more up for this game than Netherlands. They lead 19:12 with six minutes left in the first half. Nathalie Hagman and Jenny Carlson with four goals each the leading scorers.
Sweden are ruthlessly punishing the Dutch team for their sloppy start: it is 10:6 after 13 minutes.
Just 10 minutes until throw-off for the fifth-place match. Usually this game would be about a guaranteed starting place for next year's World Championship – but both Sweden and Netherlands have already secured their places.
In the future, the result of this match might become relevant – or maybe not at all... – for the qualification route to the Paris 2024 Olympics. That, however, will totally depend on the results and final rankings of the 2023 World Championship, so no use to go into to much detail here.
Just enjoy this match – as Sweden and Netherlands will certainly do, as well.
Only a few hours until the on-court action in Stožice Arena starts and you will be seeing a lot of the stars playing again.
Talking about stars, have you already voted for the Women's EHF EURO 2022 All-star Team? If not, you have to time to do so until Saturday 23:59 CET in the Home of Handball app (which, of course, you have long downloaded and installed on your phone by now).
Norway and France have met for 22 matches, including several recent finals. Today, they face off yet again, in the semi-final, which also happens to be Olivier Krumbholz’s 500th game leading France.
Read all about the build-up of Norway and Norway in this feature written by EHF journalist Courtney Gahan in Ljubljana:
If you are wondering who is bringing this stunning TV coverage to your device when following the EHF EURO?
The broadcast crew, which has been 50 per cent female throughout the event, will grow with more replay operators arriving, and taking the representation of women in the team to two-thirds.
EHF journalist Courtney Gahan takes you behind the scenes for this feature with TV director Gudrun Wanek:
Bojana Popovic is a legend in Montenegro and in Denmark. Today, both her handball worlds clash in the first semi-final. And Danish head coach Jesper Jensen is paying respect to his Montenegrin counterpart.
It is all in this feature written by EHF journalist Björn Pazen in Ljubljana:
One of the semi-finalists, France are the only unbeaten team left in the tournament. Here is a stat – provided by data analyst and journalist Julian Rux – that explains why Cléopatre Darleux has a huge impact on their success:
Before we turn our attention to today's action, let's have a look at how we got to this stage. Here are the top 5 moments of the main round:
Goodbye group matches, hello semi-finals! We are down to the business end of the Women's EHF EURO 2022, with only four teams left hoping to hold that coveted trophy in their hands on Sunday night. And after today, there will be only two of them left with dreams of gold.
So, it is semi-final day, with the match for fifth place this afternoon to get us all going. Here is the schedule:
Good morning and welcome to the live blog for the Women's EHF EURO 2022!
We have seen two brilliant weeks of handball excitement across four venues in Slovenia, North Macedonia, and Montenegro so far. But now we are about to reach the summit, entering the final weekend in Ljubljana.
While we appreciate you following all the action here on our live blog... why not come over and join us at Stožice Arena?! Tickets are now available on a 20% discount!