First EHF EURO 2022 semi-final spot to Denmark
Denmark became the first EHF EURO 2022 semi-finalists when they recorded a decisive victory against the Netherlands, 35:23, in the second group I match on Monday night. The current world champions moved up to eight points with the win, where they can only be equalled by France, and thereby confirmed their progression.
The Netherlands are now officially out of the semi-final race, following what was their biggest defeat so far in their EHF EURO history. The Dutch only just prevented Denmark scoring their highest number of goals in a single EURO game — their record stands at 36.
- it was a one-sided game in favour of Denmark, who went to the break with a nine-goal advantage and were clearly on their way to victory long before the final buzzer. Denmark’s goalkeepers Kevin Møller and Niklas Landin combined for 19 saves, while Mathias Gidsel top scored with nine goals at 100 per cent accuracy and earned the Player of the Match award
- Mikkel Hansen’s fourth goal, for 18:8 in the 24th minute, was his 250th at the EHF EURO. Hansen, who sits third in the all-time top scorer ranking at the EHF EURO, became the third player in history to reach that milestone, after Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson and Nikola Karabatic
- with a commanding advantage at half-time, Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen was able to rotate his players — an optimal situation for the world champions, as they prepare to meet France in their last main round game in a potentially decisive clash for top of the group
- although the Netherlands’ key back Kay Smits was absent due to Covid-19, he remains the top scorer of the EHF EURO 2022, with 45 goals — but he will likely be passed as several players are breathing down his neck in this ranking
- the Netherlands’ attacking mastermind Luc Steins sat on the bench for the duration of the match, indicating the Dutch have their eye on going full throttle for a last win when they meet Croatia on the last main round day
Denmark book 100th EHF EURO game
The victory on Monday night made Denmark the first to book an EHF EURO 2022 semi-final berth — two years after their lowest ranking ever in the competition (13th), when they bowed out in the preliminary round.
The game against the Netherlands was Denmark’s 98th at the EURO, and the semi-final on Friday will therefore be their 100th overall. In total, Denmark now have 63 wins at the EHF EURO, five draws and 30 losses. They have won the title twice and have the second highest medal count — six, alongside Croatia — after defending champions Spain.
And now they will fight to add a seventh medal and third title to their collection.
This is our third semi-final in the last year, and this is new for us. It’s great, it means that we can stay at the top and play very well in the long term. We have won all the games so far, this tournament has been a lot of ups and downs, but we manage to get through it so that’s good.
Denmark were obviously the best team on the court tonight. They seem to be unstoppable since the start of the competition. Even when they are playing with their substitutes, it seems like they could win against any team. I think we played the best we could, but we are beginning to be tired.