13/12/2020

Denmark on the hunt for points in race for semi-finals

GROUP I PREVIEW: On Sunday, Montenegro will take on Sweden and Spain will face the EHF EURO 2020 hosts, with Denmark in particular in need of critical points

Denmark need a win against Spain. Photo © Anze Malorvh / kolektiff

The race for the semi-finals in group I at the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 is now between just three sides: Denmark, France and Russia. While France and Russia do not play on Sunday, Denmark will fight for an important two points against Spain. Prior to that, Montenegro meet Sweden to open Sunday’s action.

The teams no longer in semi-final contention are now focused on reaching the placement game.

Two players racing up the all-time top scorer ladder will be on court on Sunday, and both have the chance to reach the 200-goal mark at EHF EURO events: Isabelle Gulldén enters Sweden’s game with 196, while Spain’s Carmen Martin takes the court with 195 career goals at the event.

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Sweden
Sunday 13 December, 18:15 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Montenegro and Sweden’s respective losses in the first main round matches meant they bowed out of semi-final contention, and are now vying to reach the 5/6 placement match
  • Montenegro were defeated by Russia 23:24 in their main round opener, while Sweden lost to Denmark 22:24
  • the teams have met six times before in official matches, with Montenegro earning three wins and Sweden taking two, while one game ended in a draw
  • Montenegro won the last two encounters against Sweden, beating the Scandinavians 26:23 last year at the World Championship and 30:28 in the EHF EURO 2018 main round
  • now the record holder for most EHF EURO games played for Montenegro, with 33, Jovanka Radicevic is the fifth top scorer of the tournament, with 21 goals

Tomas Axnér, Sweden coach: “We focus on the way we play and to improve ourselves all the time. We know it’s going to be a tough game against Montenegro. At the same time, we also know we want to improve, we want to get better. We’re going to fight 60 minutes against Montenegro and try to win that game – nothing else.”

Jelena Despotovic, Montenegro left back: “We fought a lot, we gave everything, but we didn’t take anything [against Russia]. But I hope that this will come back to us in the right moment because the championship is still going. I think we will be prepared for the next matches. We need to focus on this.”

Denmark vs Spain
Sunday 13 December, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • while Spain can no longer reach the semi-finals, entering this match with one point, Denmark are fighting for a place in the penultimate stage of the EURO, currently counting four points
  • Spain pulled off a great comeback in their main round opener, losing to France by just one goal, 25:26, while Denmark clinched a 24:22 victory over Sweden in the final minutes of a nail-biting game
  • Spain captain Carmen Martin is the second top scorer of the EURO, with 27 goals, including 18 on penalties and only one missed from the seven-metre line in the entire tournament
  • Denmark’s goalkeeping duo of Sandra Toft and Althea Reinhardt were in top form versus Sweden, saving four of the six penalties faced – Spain may not be able to rely on easy goals from Martin here
  • the last official game between the sides was in 2014, won by Spain, but Denmark have the upper hand in the overall balance with eight victories to Spain’s four

Mireya Gonzalez, Spain right back: “We need to be better for 60 minutes, we need to start better the match. But honestly I am happy because I can see that when we do the things good, we are really tough. I hope for the next matches for us, we will be able to play like this 60 minutes, and then probably we will be speaking about winning the matches that we are losing.”

Jesper Jensen, Denmark coach: “To win a tight and close game today [versus Sweden] was very important for our team and the way we see ourselves. I think it’s good for the rest of the tournament that we proved to ourselves today we are able to win the tight decisions also. Even though it wasn’t the most beautiful match ever played, I think it’s very important for us to get the win and still keep having the dream about the semi-final.”

written by Courtney Gahan / jh