Day 2: Denmark beat Slovenia as Croatia upset Hungary

LIVE BLOG: France and Croatia take their first wins against Montenegro and Hungary; Denmark also opened with a win, over Slovenia

Denmark celebrated an opening win over Slovenia. Photo © Anze Malovrh / kolektiff

Welcome to day 2 of the Women's EHF EURO 2020. This evening hosts Denmark and reigning champions France will both begin their campaign in Herning.


The three Players of the Match tonight were Montenegro's Majda Mehmedovic, Croatia's Camila Micijevic, and Denmark's Kristina Jørgensen.

Here are Jørgensen’s highlights – you can check out all the Player of the Match highlight videos on our YouTube channel!


Seconds before the buzzer Rikke Iversen saunters up to the net and scores Denmark's 30th goal of the match, securing what was in the end a fairly easy win. 


Great assist from Kristina Jørgensen, netted by Kathrine Heindahl - Denmark know they have this in the bag now.


Slovenia seem to have run out of steam, with only seven goals scored in this half and an eight-minute wait between the sixth and seventh. Denmark have opened up a seven-goal lead that was almost eight just now, only for Kristina Jørgensen's shot to hit the posts.


Well over three minutes since the last goal - things have slowed right down. Denmark lead 22:18.


Nina Zulić nets her second goal of the match on her birthday. The score is now 19:15 six minutes into the second half. A birthday win might not be on the cards for Zulić but so far Slovenia can't be too unhappy with their performance.


Ana Gros is critical for Slovenia's chances in both attack and defence. Gros is currently the top scorer of the DELO EHF Champions League with 67 goals for the season to date. Tonight, she's scored three out of five attempts for Slovenia, including this glorious 9m shot just before the half ended.


"Denmark might only boast a two-goal lead against Slovenia at the break but the hosts have been faster, better and more efficient than their opponents in the first half. Stopping backs Ana Gros and Tjasa Stanko was a must in defence for Denmark and they generally did that well, with the two Slovenian players combining for five goals in the first 30 minutes.

Sure, there were mishaps for Denmark in defence, including All-Star goalkeeper of the EHF EURO 2016, Sandra Toft, saving only three shots, while Denmark also failed to stop Slovenia’s high usage of their line player, Natasa Ljepoja, who scored four goals. Slovenia might have had smiles on their faces at the break, but Denmark are still favourites to secure the first win in the home tournament."


There was uncertainty over Sandra Toft's fitness in the lead-up to the EHF EURO and she's not had the best start to the match, but Denmark's talismanic goalkeeper looks like she's finding her feet.


Slovenia are the youngest team at the EHF EURO 2020 with an average age of 23.8 years - their squad includes 20-year-old right wing/back Tija Gomilar-Zickero, who has played 10 minutes so far. The Czechs and Croatia, who just upset Hungary, are the next-youngest teams.


Denmark now lead 14:9 with a flurry of goals in the last few minutes as they begin to dominate this match. Slovenia are defending hard but Denmark are making the most of their possession.


Nearly 10 minutes in and Denmark had edged out to a 6:4 lead - although Slovenia got the first goal and briefly led at 4:3. It's fast play so far.


Denmark and Slovenia are throwing off now. Here's the head-to-head:


"Hard to tell if France won this game or Montenegro lost it. It seems that the title-holders were more fresh physically in the last quarter of the game and Aissatou Kouyaté was a good surprise for her first ever major competition with France. Her goals were key in the last 15 minutes. But France will have to show something else against Slovenia and Denmark if they want to qualify and, furthermore, get points for the main round."


An incredibly exciting match concluded with France winning by one goal. They had to fight hard for that.


A 5:0 run in the last quarter delivered victory to Croatia and they are ecstatic - rightly so. That's the first big surprise of the tournament.


The score is 19:20 in both matches - to Montenegro and Croatia. Just 10 minutes left in Herning, eight in Kolding.


Montenegro have just called a time-out. It's 17:17 with 17 minutes left. Time for new coach Kim Rasmussen to get his team properly fired up; they can certainly still win this.

Jovanka Radicevic is her side's top scorer so far - here's one of her best.


More great saving, this time from Marta Batinovic. Montenegro haven't let up and currently lead 16:14 in a fast and furious second half.


"The coaches opted for a few of their more experienced players to start, with Zsuzsanna Tomori on right back ahead of Katrin Klujber. Klujber played just 10 minutes at the end of the half and scored four goals in that time (albeit from the seven-metre line), so her entry was critical to Hungary closing the gap.

"I think we can expect to see Hungary pick up their game in the second half, and possibly Noémi Hafrá become more dangerous as she has done in the DELO EHF Champions League at times – produce a stellar second 30 period after a slow first one. Croatia of course will fight hard to hold on, but whether that will be possible seems to depend largely on whether Hungary can reach their best level." 


"More of the same for France, as they changed their roster, but not the style. The title-holders dug themselves a hole with faulty mistakes in attack, but got back through spirit in defence, only conceding three goals in the last 11 minutes.

Montenegro have a 63 per cent attacking efficiency, but lost seven balls in attack, while France’s numbers must be improved from their meagre 45 per cent shooting efficiency if they are to save something from this game."


France have clawed themselves back from being 4:8 down at one stage and now trail Montenegro 11:12. The reigning champions have found themselves up against a formidable defence and haven't yet found the way through it.


Hungary and Croatia have exchanged the lead several times but they go into the break level at 12:12. Both sides are playing well and either side could win this.


Another moment of superb action from Hungary vs Croatia, as Larissa Kalaus (one of the two sets of twins) manages to find a gap in the Hungarian wall.


It's taken Amadine Leynaud a little while to warm up but here she is in her usual classy form.


Zsuszanna Tomori and Noémi Hafrá combined for this great assist and goal for Hungary - but Croatia have taken the lead at 9:7.


It took France nearly seven minutes to score, but it was a good one when it came as Grace Zaadi faked and broke through for the goal.


Hungary is leading Croatia 5:3 after 10 minutes although Croatia has had more possession. A fun fact about the Croatian team - it features two sets of twins, Paula and Stela Posavec, and Dora and Larissa Kalaus. Paula scored the match's first goal inside a minute.


Montenegro's Durdina Jaukovic scored the first goal for Montenegro, and a penalty by Jovanka Radicevic took them 2:0 up. With the ball back at the other end of the court France tried to score, but missed a couple of shots amid some seriously solid defending by Montenegro who have started very strongly.


National anthems done. There was some strong singing from both France and Montenegro in Herning, it's obvious how much it means to the players to be out here representing their countries at the end of a strange year.


Hungary and Croatia have met five times competitively in history, with Hungary winning three matches to Croatia's two. However, both Croatia's wins were at the EHF EURO, with Hungary beating tonight's opponents just once at a European championship. Two years ago, Croatia beat Hungary 24:18 in group C. Overall 2018 was a better tournament for Hungary, however, as they made it to the main round - Croatia's goal this year. Both teams play exciting handball and are among the youngest in the competition, so it could be a close match!


"France started the last three international competitions with a defeat. But this time, in a very tough group, they will have no room for error. They will have to control the rhythm of the game. If France manage to score easy goals on fastbreaks, they might be able to start the EURO with a win."


Don't forget we have some amazing prizes up for grabs for the winners of our prediction game. You can still predict the results of tonight's matches - just click here!


Less than an hour to go before throw off and the teams are starting to warm up. Here in Herning the Montenegrin team started off with a bit of football and dancing to the music playing in the arena - we're still waiting to see France on court. 

The two sides have both won the EHF EURO in the past - France last year, Montenegro in 2012 - but as the head-to-head statistics show, France have far more pedigree in the European championship than tonight's opponents. Montenegro are also here with a brand new coach, Dane Kim Rasmussen, and it will be interesting to see his choices as the match progresses. They are certainly a team France should not underestimate.


The EHF has issued an official statement on the current situation within the Serbian team.


Before attention turns to day 2, here's what the (Un)informed Handball Hour's Chris O'Reilly thinks about the first day's action. Head to Facebook to let us know who you think was the MVP on Thursday.


Show your passion for handball and head to the hummel webshop for some exclusive EHF EURO t-shirts. 


The universal opinion among the EHF journalists is that this is extremely cool. The players here in Denmark are unable to leave the 'red bubble' which protects them and others involved in the tournament from Covid-19 infections, but that doesn't mean they can't still appear on TV. 


There was a question mark over Sandra Toft's fitness before these championships, but the Danish goalkeeper - integral to her team's chances - has been given the green light to play and will take to the court tonight. EHF journalist Björn Pazen has talked to Toft, Mette Tranborg and coach Jesper Jensen about the mood in the Danish camp before they play Slovenia later.


Happy birthday Nina Zulić! The Slovenian centre back turns 25 today and her team helped her celebrate at training - can they also give her an EHF EURO 2020 win tonight?


This is the group C preview - Hungary vs Croatia to be played tonight, while the Netherlands vs Serbia match is now scheduled for tomorrow night (a bumper Saturday edition of the EHF EURO).


This is lovely! Croatia show they're pretty nimble on the dancefloor as well as the handball court.


Group A looks pretty exciting tonight: France want to show they're in contention for another title, Denmark want to make the most of a home tournament, and the Danish and Montenegrin coaches are making their debuts with their teams. Read all about the action from Herning in our preview. 


The French team won their first EHF EURO title in Paris in 2018 and want to repeat the feat in Denmark. Before their first match, EHF journalist Kevin Domas caught up with their captain Siraba Dembélé Pavlovic to find out what memories she has of two years ago, and if she thinks a second European championship title is on the cards.


Here's today's schedule. The match between the Netherlands and Serbia due to take place in Kolding at 20:30 CET has been postponed - read the official statement for an explanation.


To start off this morning, have a look back at the best goals from last night's matches - there were some spectacular shots!



written by ehf-euro.com