Favourites on top after opening day
After the opening day of action at the Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2021, the semi-finalists from the 2019 edition of the W17 event, where the same generations competed, have taken pole position in their respective groups.
Hungary, who clinched both the W17 and W19 European titles in the summer of 2019, lead group D following a 27:19 victory in a derby versus Romania. The other group D clash saw an upset as Czech Republic, qualified for the EURO as winners of the lower-tier W17 Championship in Italy, overthrew Norway 28:25.
The silver medallists from the W17 EHF EURO 2019, Sweden, are on top in group B thanks to a 37:29 win against Slovakia on day one. Russia, with the squad who placed fifth at the W17 EHF EURO 2019 and won the 2018 Youth World Championship, have yet to take the court due to the withdrawal of their first opponents, Portugal. Sweden, Slovakia and Russia all earned two points from their scheduled encounters against Portugal, who were forced to miss the competition due to Covid-19 cases in the team.
In group A, Denmark — fourth ranked at the W17 EHF EURO 2019 — are first after the opening day of action in Slovenia. Denmark defeated the tournament hosts 31:17 to earn their first two points, while Germany also enjoyed a commanding win as they beat Switzerland 30:23.
Rounding out the top-performing semi-finalist teams from the last EURO for this generation are France, who earned a decisive opening win against Montenegro, 29:20, in group C. Also in group C, the match between Croatia and Austria saw the result left undecided as a protest was submitted by the Austrian Handball Federation due to the fact that one Croatia player received three two-minute suspensions but was not issued a red card and remained on court to the end of the match.
Due to this error, the EHF has confirmed the protest from the Austrian Handball Federation. The decision has been made to cancel the match result and replay the final 10 minutes and two seconds of the match (the point at which the third two-minute suspension was issued) on the rest day on Saturday. The game will restart with the score where it was at that time, at 19:18 for Croatia.
The top scorer after day one at the W19 EHF EURO 2021 is W17 EHF EURO 2019 All-star Team centre back Lena Grandveau, who netted 10 times for France in their opening victory. She sits one goal in front of Germany’s Annika Hampel and two ahead of Slovakia’s Barbora Lancz.
Decisive Friday ahead
The W19 EHF EURO 2021 action will continue on Friday, with the reigning world champions in this generation, Russia, ready to begin their campaign as they meet Slovakia at 15:00 CEST. Due to Portugal’s withdrawal, that will be the only match of the day in group B.
In group A, Denmark and Germany will look to solidify their status as group leaders as they take on Switzerland and Slovenia, respectively. Switzerland and Denmark will open the day for the group at 17:00 CEST, before Slovenia meet Germany at 19:00 CEST.
Group C are first up on Friday, with Croatia set to play France at 13:00 CEST, while Montenegro face Austria at 15:00 CEST. In group D, Czech Republic and Hungary both aim for their second win when they meet at 17:00 CEST, while Romania and Norway will each be on the hunt for their first victory when they face each other at 19:00 CEST.
For all teams, round 2 is a pivotal one that could see some main round berths decided. At the end of the preliminary round, on Sunday, the two top-ranked teams in each group will proceed to the next stage, while the bottom placed sides will contest the intermediate round.
Widespread coverage on EHFTV and EHF social media
The Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2021 is streamed live on EHFTV. Fans can also stay up to date through the Home of Handball social media channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as the reports on eurohandball.com.
Photo: kolektiff / Anze Malovrh