20220119

The battle for the final weekend starts in Budapest

EHF / Kevin Domas

Six teams, 12 games, two tickets for the final weekend, that is the equation that will have to be solved by next Wednesday, as the main round gets going in Budapest.

Three teams will start the EHF EURO 2022 second phase with two points: Denmark, France and Iceland, and two of them will already face each other in the first round, as Denmark play Iceland.

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Croatia
Thursday 20 January, 15:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams progressed to the main round after finishing second in their respective groups, and as consequence, they are both with zero points at the moment
  • this is the second time that Montenegro have reached the EHF EURO main round, the first one was in 2008
  • on the hand, Croatia played every EHF EURO main round since 2002
  • Montenegro and Croatia faced each other three times at the EURO, in 2008 and 2014 and 2020. Croatia won all confrontations
  • Nemanja Grbovic and Vasko Sevaljevic are now the players from Montenegro who have played the most EHF EURO games in their careers, 15 each

Ante Gadza, Croatia centre back: “Montenegro have had great results, they have an aggressive defence and that will be a very tough game.”

Vuk Lazovic, Montenegro line player: “Being in the main round is a major achievement but I know my team and that it has got the potential to do even better. We must go there step by step and enjoy it, because we have nothing to lose. And when you have nothing to lose, you have a lot to win.”

France vs Netherlands
Thursday 20 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • while France made it to the main round with two points after winning all their games in group C, the Netherlands progressed from group B with no points
  • the Netherlands have qualified for the main round for the first time, in their second participation at an EHF EURO final tournament
  • Dutch right back Kay Smits is currently the best scorer of the competition with 32 goals, while the best scorer for France is Dika Mem (14 goals)
  • the two nations have never played against each other at the EHF EURO before
  • over the nine times France and the Netherlands played each other since 1961, France have won eight games with the Dutch managing a single draw in 1983

Guillaume Gille, France coach: “When you look at the Netherlands’ performance, they are a team on the way up. They have been steadily good in the last few years, with a lot of quality players such as Luc Steins or Kay Smits. They play really good, and we will have to adapt in order to win our first main round game.”

Luc Steins, Netherlands centre back “What we have made is history for Dutch handball, and we are very proud of that. Now, we know that it will be even harder in the main round, but we will go there with nothing to lose, playing against four very good teams.”

20220119 Gpi Preview ISL NED

Denmark vs Iceland

Thursday 20 January, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Denmark made it to the main round by finishing first in group A, taking two points with them. Iceland also have two points after finishing top of group B
  • the two nations have played six times against each other in the EHF EURO, the last time in 2020. Overall, Denmark won three confrontations, Iceland two and one ended in a draw
  • the best scorer for Denmark so far is Mikkel Hansen, who scored 20 in the preliminary round while Sigvaldi Gudjonsson netted 18 times for Iceland
  • goalkeeper Björgvin Pall Gustavsson will become the second-most experienced Icelandic player at the EHF EURO on Thursday, as he plays his 38th game in the competition
  • Mikkel Hansen will play his 45th EHF EURO game on Thursday, making him the fourth-most experienced Danish player in the competition

Nikolaj Jacobsen, Denmark coach: “Reaching the main round is only the first step, but I am happy we won all games in the preliminary round. Now, we will face three tough opponents and we will try to keep our momentum.”

Gudmundur Gudmunsson, Iceland coach: “This is only the beginning, really. We showed in the preliminary round that we were able to overcome tough circumstances, including playing against a sold-out arena. I’m sure my team still has the potential to do even better.”

Latest news