Netherlands and Spain share spoils after roller-coaster match
A well-balanced group in Skopje got even more tight, after the Netherlands and Spain shared the spoils in a roller-coaster match, which saw them each get one point, after a 29:29 draw.
- an 8:2 run spanning between the 25th and the 38th minutes saw the Netherlands cancel a five-goal Spain lead and took the lead for the first time, 21:20, after a strong start from Jose Ignacio Prades’ team
- in the absence of left back Kelly Dulfer, who was suspended from the match after conceding a red card in the loss against Germany, Estavana Polman took over the Netherlands’ attack and put in a vintage performance, scoring four goals and dishing four assists
- the Dutch side are now on a three-game winless streak, with their chances of progressing to the final weekend in Ljubljana getting lower and lower as the tournament progressed
- Spain recorded their tenth draw at the EHF EURO in 73 matches, the second-largest number in the history of the competition, after Russia, who have 11 draws in 94 matches
- neither Spain, nor the Netherlands are eliminated from contention for a place in the semi-finals, but with game for each outstanding, they are one point behind France and Montenegro, with slim chances of progression
Spain tie record, but fail to deliver for 60 minutes
To be strong enough to come back after such a disappointing loss like the one against Romania two days ago means character and Spain showed plenty of it, with an excellent display in the first half against the Netherlands. They scored 17 goals, tying their record at the EHF EURO for the number of goals scored in the first 30 minutes of the game.
But the Dutch side was excellent in the second half, with the Player of the Match, Merel Freriks and centre back Inger Smits each scoring six goals. However, it was not enough, as Spain bounced back, only to salvage a draw with a goal from left wing Maitane Echeverria scored with only 22 seconds left.
The result leaves both Spain and the Netherlands with only one game left to try and salvage something from this tournament, but their fate is not in their hands. Netherlands especially will lament the last three matches in the competition, which they failed to win, after starting strong, with two wins, as coach Per Johansson will certainly want more from a talented, yet unpredictable side.
I am little bit sad. We started very good, the defence was very good. But in the second half we were a bit tired. I am also happy because we came from a bad game (against Romania) and took another step.
Laura van der Heijden (NED) – right back: "Spain started really well and I am proud on the way we came back. We fought all the match, but I wanted to win, in the end, it is only one point."
Lysa Tchaptchet (ESP) – line player: "We were ahead by seven goals in the first half, and I was sure we have full control of the match. But in the end, the match went crazy and we have won a point.