Flawless start helps Spain secure final berth
After a dominant display against Serbia in the first semi-final of the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2022 in Portugal, Spain are back in the final of the M20 EHF EURO for the fourth time in history and for the first time since 2016.
“Los Hispanos” will face either hosts Portugal or Sweden – who will collide in the second semi-final on Friday evening in the Centro de Desportos e Congresso de Matosinhos – in the last game of the tournament.
- four saves from goalkeeper Roberto Domenech, who boasted an 80 per cent efficiency in the first 12 minutes, helped Spain open a 8:1 lead, which proved to be unassailable
- right wing Antonio Martínez was integral to Spain's win. He fuelled the 8:1 run with the first three of his six goals in the match, and his three other goals in the last seven minutes stopped Serbia's comeback
- with left back Milos Kos scoring six times in the first half, 60 per cent of his team’s goals, Serbia recorded their worst performance in the first 30 minutes at the M20 EHF EURO since 2016, when they scored seven times against Slovenia
- in a comeback fuelled by backs Milos Kos and Stefan Dodic, who combined for 13 goals, Serbia cut the gap to two goals, 30:28, with three minutes to go, but eventually fell short of completing it
- only two teams in history – Germany and Denmark, who have played in the final five times at the M20 EHF EURO – have sealed a place in the last act of the competition more times than Spain, who have made four appearances
Spain tie Germany and Denmark's record
Boasting the top attack in the competition after the main round, with an average of 37.2 goals scored per game, Spain changed their focus and deployed a defensive masterpiece that prevented Serbia from scoring more than one goal in the first 12 minutes of the semi-final.
But it was also a great attacking display which helped Spain deliver blow after blow, as Serbia’s attack displayed a meagre 11 per cent efficiency in that span. By the time Serbia tried to mount a comeback, it was too little, too late, with “Los Hispanos” already leading by a mile.
This will be Spain’s fourth final at the M20 EHF EURO, and they will tie Germany and Denmark as the teams with the most medals won in the competition – six. Spain lost against Denmark in the inaugural final in 1996, but won the other two they played, against Croatia in 2012 and Germany in 2016.