Summary: Four teams with maximum points after round 3
The Women's EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers have resumed with round 3 on Wednesday and Thursday, and will be followed by round 4 on the weekend.
- round 3 of the Women's EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers
- Thursday's results: Serbia vs Sweden 24:21, Lithuania vs Switzerland 30:36, Croatia vs France 19:21, Germany vs Netherlands 25:31, Portugal vs Slovakia 24:21
- Wednesday's results: Turkey vs Iceland 30:29; Romania vs Denmark 28:35, Hungary vs Spain 28:30, Faroe Islands vs Austria 24:29
- in the EHF EURO Cup: Montenegro vs Norway 27:32, Slovenia vs North Macedonia 29:28
- check the updated group standings and see that Denmark, Netherlands, France, and Spain are the only teams with three wins from three matches
Thursday 3 March
Here ends our coverage of round 3 of the Women's EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers. But the good news is: we are back on Saturday as the teams return to the courts this weekend for round 4!
You can find an overview of the round 4 matches here on eurohandball.com, and you get all relevant info for each match in our round preview on Friday.
For now, thanks for joining us! And before closing the day, make sure you scroll through the best pictures from the this evening:
One more time, here are all the results from tonight for you.
France and Netherlands keep their perfect record intact with a third straight win; Serbia impress with a clear victory over Sweden; and good to see both Switzerland and Portugal finally winning a qualifier again after a long, long time.
Not on this graphic, but of course well worth a mention, is Slovenia's hard-fought 29:28 win this evening over North Macedonia in the EHF EURO Cup 2022.
Ending a six-year wait for a victory in this competition, Portugal boost their hopes of making it to the EHF EURO 2022 by gaining their first two points in group 5, where Spain (six points) and Hungary (four) are the leading duo. Portugal have been a touch better, a touch faster, a touch more efficient than Slovakia tonight: 24:21.
Read all about the round 3 closer in the match review:
Per Johansson was only appointed as Netherlands coach eight days ago, so how would the Dutch team fare under the new leadership? The first game proved a real test - away at neighbours Germany - and after an up-and-down first half with a two-goal lead for the hosts, Netherlands turned around the match quickly in the second half and added their third win (31:25) in group 3, and are now three points clear of Germany.
Next up? Netherlands vs Germany in Rotterdam on Saturday!
Here is the match review of tonight's encounter:
21:31 | RESULT
- group 5: Portugal vs Slovakia 24:21 (13:10)
Both on zero points in that tough group 5 with Spain and Hungary, it looks like Portugal are going to bag the first points of their qualifier campaign, leading Slovakia by five with just 14 minutes left.
The EHF EURO Cup - the four-team competition involving the three 2022 co-hosts and the defending champions from 2020 - had one match on the programme tonight. And it turned out to be a good one for Slovenia.
Led by Ana Gros' 10-goal outing, they defeated North Macedonia in the closest of matches. While both teams won't have realistic hopes of lifting this cup with European and world champions Norway also in the mix, it was certainly a useful test for both ahead of their home event in eight months' time.
Read the match review for all you need to know:
Ohhh, that feeling when you save a penalty..!
Serbia have not missed an EHF EURO final tournament in ages, but after an earlier loss in Iceland, they were under pressure against Sweden tonight. And, well, did they deliver?! Despite 10 goals from Sweden ace Nathalie Hagman, they take a convincing 24:21 win to throw group 6 wide open again!
Read how it all unfolded tonight in our match review:
France needed almost seven minutes before scoring their first goal of the match in Croatia. But, in fact, they were never really in danger of losing, leading by four at the break (12:8), keeping a two- or three-goal buffer throughout most of the match, and ultimately winning 21:19.
It keeps their perfect record in group 4 intact (three games, six points), but Croatia - the brave bronze-medalists from 2020 - have already suffered their second defeat in this group now.
Here is the match review for you:
20:40 | HALF-TIME SCORE
- group 5: Portugal vs Slovakia 13:10
So, Switzerland finally gained their first points in an EHF EURO Qualifier since 2018, in Lithuania tonight. It remains to be seen what value those points will have in terms of qualification from group 1 for the final tournament in November.
Here you can read the match review with all the details:
Wow, that was a massive block to start the evening with... We will go through in a bit more detail what these results mean, but first have a look at Portugal and Slovakia, who are currently playing the last match in round 3 tonight.
A good start for the hosts, who lead 8:4 after 13 minutes.
20:00 | RESULT
- group 3: Germany vs Netherlands 25:31 (12:10)
Team timeout Netherlands. The points are in the pocket for Oranje, but: "We want to have as many goals as possible," says coach Per Johansson, aware that the head-to-head might become important if Germany were to win the reverse fixture in Rotterdam on Saturday.
Sweden might have lost, but things are going well for Swedish coach Per Johansson: his Netherlands have come back from behind in Germany to build a four-goal lead with just over nine minutes to play.
Jovana Risovic has been a main factor in Serbia's three-goal win over the Olympic semi-finalists:
19:34 | RESULTS
- group 1: Lithuania vs Switzerland 30:36 (19:18)
- group 4: Croatia vs France 19:21 (8:12)
- group 6: Serbia vs Sweden 24:21 (10:9)
- EHF EURO Cup: Slovenia vs North Macedonia 29:28 (15:14)
You got to feel for Nathalie Hagman, who has netted 10 of Sweden's 20 goals - but it probably won't be enough, with Serbia still leading by a couple of goals going into the last three minutes...
(By the way, Ana Gros has also scored 10 so far for Slovenia against North Macedonia!)
France hold a healthy three-goal lead over Croatia, but the hosts have proven they never give up. Still an exciting final 14 minutes coming up.
Interesting game between Germany and Netherlands in the first half, with 'Oranje' going three goals up on two occasions (6:3 and 9:6) but the hosts finishing off the half with a stunning 6:1 run. Alina Grijseels (who else?) is the best scorer, with four goals.
19:07 | HALF-TIME SCORE
- group 3: Germany vs Netherlands 12:10
Goals galore! Lithuania and Switzerland are truly going for it: Switzerland meanwhile lead by 23:20 and we have only just started the second half!
Team timeout Germany. Coach Henk Groener want his team to attack more over the wings. So far, the hosts have been outscored by Netherlands: 6:3 for the visitors in their first match under coach Per Johansson.
18:40 | HALF-TIME SCORES
- group 1: Lithuania vs Switzerland 19:18
- group 4: Croatia vs France 8:12
- group 6: Serbia vs Sweden 10:9
- EHF EURO Cup: Slovenia vs North Macedonia 15:14
Quick visit to the EHF EURO Cup: Slovenia are doing nice things against North Macedonia:
France having troubles in Croatia, they do lead but fail to open a substantial gap. One reason for that:
There has been a lot of talk about Germany vs Netherlands - with Germany having a Dutch coach and many Dutch players in the German league... but it is time for the on-court action between the neighbouring countries now!
Throw-off in five minutes!
Bit of a slow start for France who needed almost seven minutes for their first goal in Croatia, but after 11 minutes, they are leading 4:2.
Elsewhere, Serbia are 5:3 up against Sweden.
Lithuania and Switzerland have started their campaigns in group 1 with two losses last autumn. So who will get their first points tonight?
Lithuania have won three of the four previous duels against Switzerland, but the Swiss side have won the most recent one - in 2018.
With tonight's action starting in 15 minutes, let's have a look again at the schedule for tonight. Against the backdrop of a classic Tess Wester outburst, this graphic lists all qualifiers.
And when you realise we also have the EHF EURO Cup game Slovenia vs North Macedonia throwing off at 18:00 CET, you know that there is a LOT of handball coming your way very soon!
Apart from Olympic champions France, another team that did well at Tokyo 2020 is in action tonight: Sweden. They reached the Olympic semi-finals (where they narrowly lost to France) and backed up that result by placing fifth at the World Championship four months later.
Sweden have started the qualifiers well with four points from their first two games in group 6; tonight's opponents Serbia dropped two points in Iceland last autumn. Serbia will be keen to make up for that loss - and don't forget, they have been at the EHF EURO final tournament each time since 2006!
Throw-off in Zrenjanin is in half an hour.
At 18:00 CET, a rematch of the EHF EURO 2020 semi-final between France and Croatia begins. In the semi-final in Herning, France took a decisive win, 30:19, and the side would appear the favourites again tonight.
Croatia have not won against France since 2009 in a World Championship play-off on home turf.
France were the number one pick on our power ranking ahead of rounds 3 and 4 of the qualifiers. Since they reached the final of the EHF EURO 2020 after their semi-final victory over Croatia, France have celebrated the Olympic title and a silver medal at the World Championship in December.
Croatia did not qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games and placed 18th at the World Championship.
One of the matches on tonight's schedule will see The Netherlands playing their first official game under the leadership of new coach Per Johansson, facing their former coach Henk Groener as they meet Germany in a top-of-group encounter.
Groener was at the helm when The Netherlands had their breakthrough performance at the World Championship 2015, since when they have been led by three different coaches — Helle Thomsen, Emmanuel Mayonnade and Monique Tijsterman. Now, Johansson is up to bat. “His personality, team spirit and vision are appealing to us,” said Technical Director of the Dutch Handball Federation, Serge Rink, of Johansson.
Groener took over the Germany women's side in 2018 and has already played his former team at three major championships. Overall, tonight's match will be the 75th in history between the sides.
As we await throw-off, read the feature on the Dutch links to the Germany team and the news about Johansson joining The Netherlands below.
Welcome to day two of our live blog coverage of round 3 of the Women's EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers.
After four matches got the round underway last night, another five are set to be played tonight. In addition, the EHF EURO Cup continues.
- Serbia vs Sweden 18:00 CET — EHF EURO qualifiers
- Croatia vs France 18:00 CET — EHF EURO qualifiers
- Lithuania vs Switzerland 18:00 CET — EHF EURO qualifiers
- Slovenia vs North Macedonia 18:00 CET — EHF EURO Cup
- Germany vs Netherlands 18:30 CET — EHF EURO qualifiers
- Portugal vs Slovakia 20:00 CET — EHF EURO qualifiers
Wednesday 2 March
That brings us to the end of the first day of round 3 live blog coverage! I leave you with the match reviews from today's action, which saw four exciting EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers and one EHF EURO Cup match.
Join us again tomorrow as both the qualifiers and the Cup continue!
Tonight's EHF EURO qualifiers might be done and dusted, but there is plenty more action to come on Thursday.
Here's what's coming up tomorrow:
- Serbia vs Sweden 18:00 CET
- Croatia vs France 18:00 CET
- Lithuania vs Switzerland 18:00 CET
- Germany vs Netherlands 18:30 CET
- Portugal vs Slovakia 20:00 CET
And in the EHF EURO Cup:
- Slovenia vs North Macedonia 18:00 CET
Be sure to check out our preview for all the key facts surrounding these games.
That's a wrap on tonight's EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers and EHF EURO Cup 2022 action! Let's take a closer look at the qualifiers group standings after this first day of round 3, which has seen results that really heat up the competition on some tables.
In group 2, Austria's victory against Faroe Islands means they are now equal with Romania on three points, while group leaders Denmark (six points) have the chance to book their place at the final tournament if they can extend their winning run in the reverse fixture against Romania. Group 2 is the only one which is all done for round 3 after today's games.
In group 5, Spain now sit alone on top after their win against Hungary, whom they were equal with on points prior to tonight's match.
Over in group 6, we have the only table where every team has gathered points, after Turkey ended a four-year wait for a win in the EURO qualifiers when they overthrew Iceland. Iceland and Turkey are now level on two points apiece, but Iceland have a better goal difference so stay in third while Turkey remain in fourth position.
21:30 RESULT | FAROE ISLANDS VS AUSTRIA 24:29
A great effort from Faroe Islands but the home side are ultimately left empty-handed, as Austria celebrate a five-goal win that represents their first victory in the qualifiers.
With the win, Austria draw level with Romania on three points on the group 2 table, while Faroe Islands remain on zero following their third straight defeat.
Six minutes remain before the qualifiers action is all wrapped up for the day with the final whistle in Faroe Islands. It looks very much as though Austria will be going home with the best souvenir from their trip — the two points — as they hold a 26:21 advantage.
Faroe Islands are piling on the pressure defensively, but cannot put a dent in Austria's lead so far. Might they be rewarded in the final minutes? We saw Turkey and Spain both take last-minute wins in their matches tonight, although they were not behind as clearly at this stage, but those results nevertheless proved no match is over until the buzzer sounds.
As we hit the 40-minute mark in Torshavn, Austria have extended their cushion to five goals, at 21:16.
The EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers see Austria chasing their first participation in the final tournament since 2008, and a victory here will go a long way for the side.
Patricia Kovaks and Sonja Frey are really proving their value for Austria, with Kovacs now tallying seven and Frey on six goals. Between them, they have missed only one shot.
20:40 HALF-TIME UPDATE | FAROE ISLANDS VS AUSTRIA 12:15
Austria take a not insurmountable but certainly promising score line in their favour into the break in the last EURO qualifiers match of the day.
Austria back Patricia Kovacs ends the first half as top scorer, with six goals in the first 30 minutes, while Sonja Frey nets four.
Five minutes to go in the first half and Austria have taken charge, leading 14:11 — despite a great entry from Faroe Islands goalkeeper Rakul Wardum. After Annika Petersen faced nine shots with no saves, Wardum came onto court and now tallies three saves at 38 per cent.
10 minutes played in the last match of the day and Faroe Islands and Austria are on equal footing, with the hosts just in front at 6:5.
Although Austria have a far higher shooting efficiency than Faroe Islands, they are having more trouble finding the shooting chances, having taken just five to Faroe Islands' nine attempts.
But Austria are surely pleased to be in a level game now, after a slow opening that meant they fell behind by three goals in just five minutes.
One match still to come in tonight's EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers, starting in just over 10 minutes: Faroe Islands vs Austria.
While Austria bring one point into the encounter, thanks to a draw with Romania, Faroe Islands are entering the game with zero. It is only the Faroe Islands' third participation in phase 2 of the qualifiers, after they made their way to this stage from phase 1.
The teams have met only once before, back in 2016 with vastly different lineups. Austria won that World Championship qualification match 29:20.
19:31 RESULT | HUNGARY VS SPAIN 28:30
Another EHF EURO qualifiers thriller, another late win for the team trailing the entire match! Spain snatch the points from Hungary after scoring the final three goals of the match unanswered.
It's a big all-round effort from Spain, who see only two field players not making their way onto the score board. Jennifer Gutierrez top scores with a huge nine goals.
19:27 RESULT | MONTENEGRO VS NORWAY 27:32
In the end, Montenegro lose the strength that kept them level with Norway earlier in the game and succumb to a five-goal defeat in the EHF EURO Cup match.
It is the first loss for Montenegro in the EHF EURO Cup, while Norway extend their winning record to three from three and stay on top in the competition of sides already qualified for the final tournament.
They are not nicknamed the 'Guerreras' for nothing! Spain come back from a four-goal deficit in the 48th, 24:20, and we have a level game inside the final minutes in Hungary, 28:28.
Less than three minutes remain on the clock to decide these critical two points.
Hungary are really making a statement as they maintain the lead against World Championship semi-finalists Spain — 20:17 in the 40th minute.
The two sides entered the game on top of group 5, with both having won both qualifiers games so far, against Portugal and Slovakia in October. Whoever clinches the points here will therefore enter round 4 as the sole group leaders — at least until the rematch on the weekend.
18:45 HALF-TIME UPDATE | MONTENEGRO VS NORWAY 15:16
Montenegro are really taking it to Norway, with the Scandinavian team in front by just one goal as we go to the break in Podgorica.
Montenegro's key scorer Jovanka Radicevic is not letting her team down, having netted eight goals at 88 per cent in the opening 30 minutes.
18:40 HALF-TIME UPDATE | HUNGARY VS SPAIN 16:13
A powerful performance from Hungary sees them to a three-goal lead at half-time against Spain. The home side have not allowed their visitors to hold the advantage at any point in the game so far.
18:36 RESULT | ROMANIA VS DENMARK 28:35
Denmark make it three wins from three games in the qualifiers as they defeat Romania comfortably after holding the lead through the entire match. It is Romania's first defeat in the qualifiers.
18:32 RESULT | TURKEY VS ICELAND 30:29
What a win for Turkey! They hold on to secure a one-goal victory and with that their first points of the qualifiers. The final score of 30:29 represented the first time Turkey took the lead in the entire game against Iceland.
25 seconds to go in Kastamonu and the match is on the edge as a timeout is called by Turkey. The home side have the edge at 30:29 and look set to at least take one point from this encounter.
Below, enjoy one of the earlier highlights from Iceland's great performance.
Turkey and Iceland are serving up a great match to start round 3, as we look set for a late decision in Kastamonu with the score at 26:27 in the 53rd minute. Can Turkey make the most of the vocal home crowd and snatch their first win of the qualifiers?
In Romania, Denmark are still powering to victory as they stay in front by nine goals, 30:21, with 10 minutes to go.
In the two matches thrown off at 18:00, the home sides are really capitalising on their support. Hungary have the lead at 11:8 against Spain — who reached the World Championship semi-finals in December, while Hungary ranked 10th — after 15 minutes. Against the reigning EURO and world champions, Montenegro are level, at 8:8.
Iceland try to pull away but Turkey draw level at 18:18 and 19:19 as the second half gets underway in Kastamonu. 10 minutes in, it's back at Iceland in front, 20:21, but we have a solid contest on our hands for these two points.
This is the first official match ever between Turkey and Iceland. Both have plenty on the line as Iceland hope to return to the final tournament for the third time (previous participations in 2020 and 2012) while Turkey hope for their first successful qualification.
Turkey have only won two games in the qualifiers, participating in 2016, 2018 and 2020, so a win here would be something special for the side.
There is no shortage of handball available now! As Turkey vs Iceland and Romania vs Denmark resume with the second halves, Hungary vs Spain and Montenegro vs Norway throw off.
Lucky EHFTV has a handy four-screen feature so you can watch all four games at once.
Two games on the go but another two soon to join the big evening of entertainment, as Hungary meet Spain in the qualifiers while Montenegro play Norway in the EHF EURO Cup, both starting at 18:00 CET.
Earlier this week, we heard from Montenegro centre back Itana Grbic about their double-header against the current world and European champions.
"We have two matches against the European champions next week. What to say about them? They are at the top of handball for many years. These matches are a real challenge for us and very important. We will be able to see where we stand against such a great team — to try everything we can," Grbic told eurohandball.com.
Read the full feature below!
17:43 HALF-TIME UPDATE | ROMANIA VS DENMARK 13:19
Denmark have a confident advantage at half-time in Romania and look very much on the path to an important victory that could lead to them securing their EHF EURO 2022 ticket on the weekend. Wins in both games of the double-header would see the Scandinavian side through to the final tournament.
Can Romania turn this around?
17:39 HALF-TIME UPDATE | TURKEY VS ICELAND 15:16
A bit of a slow start for Turkey as they fall behind by up to four goals more than once in the opening half, but the home team pull off quite a comeback and are rewarded as they go to the break one goal behind.
24 minutes played in Turkey and the home team are keeping within reach of Iceland, but still trail, at 12:15. In Romania, Denmark remain in charge at 14:9 in the 22nd.
Romania have significantly improved their shooting efficiency, from 20 to 53 per cent, but the five-goal gap looks a difficult task against a Denmark who are carrying on the form that has seen them reach the semi-finals at two of the three most recent major international competitions.
All eyes were on the return of Romanian star Cristina Neagu to her national team after a 10-month break. The left back has not managed a big impact so far, scoring one.
Great support behind them but both home sides are on the back foot early on, with Romania trailing Denmark 1:4 in the eighth minute while Iceland lead Turkey 7:5 in the 11th.
Asli Iskit has been critical for Turkey so far, with three of their five goals scored by the Thüringer left back.
In Romania, the hosts have hardly been able to get a shot lined up, with a 20 per cent accuracy rate compared with Denmark's 100 per cent shooting efficiency so far.
Starting whistle in Kastamonu and round 3 of the Women's EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers is officially underway!
Join us now on EHFTV for a night of action with five games, including one EHF EURO Cup match.
Let's take a look at the first teams taking the court for round 3 of the qualifiers, as Turkey host Iceland in today's opening game at 17:00 CET before Romania meet Denmark, starting at 17:05 CET.
Playing from group 6, home side Turkey are looking for their first points in the qualifiers as they take on Iceland, who have collected two points so far thanks to a stunning win against Serbia in round 2. Both teams lost to Sweden, and Turkey were defeated clearly by Serbia in the earlier matches back in October.
Iceland are third in the group ahead of Turkey in fourth.
In group 2, it's quite a different story, with the two unbeaten group leaders facing each other. Denmark are on top with four points from two wins, versus Austria and Faroe Islands. Romania are second with three points following an opening victory versus Faroe Islands and a draw with Austria in round 2.
Since the October qualifiers, Denmark and Romania contested the World Championship in December, while Turkey and Iceland did not qualify. At the World Championship, Denmark ended an eight-year wait for a medal and clinched bronze.
While most national teams play two matches up until Sunday, some players have a busier schedule. Look at Katarina Pandza, one of the standout talents of Austria.
Pandza is set to play with the Austrian national team in their group 2 match in Faroe Islands tonight. But once she returns to Austria, she will also play two matches with the country's U20 team in World Championship qualification on top of the second meeting of the A team with Faroe Islands.
Luckily she did have some spare time earlier this week for this interview by EHF journalist Björn Pazen:
With women's national team handball taking centre stage again from today, it is time to see where the various teams stand.
EHF journalist Adrian Costeiu put them under the microscope and came up with this power ranking of teams actually competing in the qualifiers - hence no Norway:
It is great to have women's national team handball return to the courts across Europe, after the qualifiers started in October and the IHF World Championship 2021 in Spain in December.
What is even better: we will see some really big names in action today with the likes of Denmark, Hungary and Spain playing, as well as the return of Cristina Neagu after more than 10 months away from the Romanian national team.
And don't forget Norway, who will be playing in Montenegro for the EHF EURO Cup.
This what we have in prospect for you today:
Good afternoon and welcome to the Women's EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers live blog!
The race to Slovenia/North Macedonia/Montenegro 2022 continues today with the first four matches in round 3, followed by four more matches on Thursday.
It has been a good few months since the previous round was played so the best way to get back into it, is by reading our round preview: