11/12/2020

Denmark take critical points from Scandinavian derby

GROUP I REVIEW: The main round in Herning continued with another thrilling game as Denmark defeated Sweden 24:22, with the final goal scored one second before the buzzer

Denmark beat Sweden after a close 60 minutes. Photo © Anze Malvorh / kolektiff

Sweden and Denmark dished up a classic derby encounter that saw the result decided only in the final minute of both sides’ opening main round game, with Denmark securing the victory, 24:22.

Denmark thereby climb up to four points on the group I table, where they sit in three points behind leaders Russia and France.

During the match, Isabelle Gulldén continued climbing the all-time top scorer standings, passing German Grit Jurack and Spain’s Carmen Martin to now count 196 career goals at the EHF EURO and occupy third position.

GROUP I

Denmark vs Sweden 24:22 (13:12)

  • Sandra Toft recorded a rate above 40 per cent throughout the majority of the first half and paved the way for Denmark to hold a steady lead. Their biggest advantage was three goals
  • a flurry of goals led by wing Emma Rask saw Sweden pull the game back within one right before the break and the game stayed a one-for-one contest until the last seconds, when Mette Tranborg scored her sixth to secure the result after Nathalie Hagman went high on a penalty versus Toft
  • Sweden struggled with a low shooting efficiency in the opening half – also due to Toft’s saves – but improved it with their performance in the second period
  • Toft was replaced by Althea Reinhardt 10 minutes into the second half. Reinhardt added two penalty saves to Toft’s two, for a success rate of four out of six seven-metre shots faced by the Danish keepers during the game
  • the goalkeepers became harder to beat as the final whistle drew nearer, with Jessica Ryde making a total of 10 saves for Sweden and Reinhardt finishing with four at 44 per cent

A classic derby delivers

Sweden and Denmark are old and familiar rivals, having met a total of 17 times in official matches – dating back to the 1970s – before their opening game of the main round on Friday night.

The balance before the game was overwhelmingly in favour of Denmark, who have won 11 of the games to Sweden’s six, with four of those coming at EHF EURO events to Sweden’s two.

When the teams met two years ago at the EURO in France, Denmark edged Sweden by one goal after Sweden had the upper hand by the same margin at half-time. On Friday night, Denmark managed a two-goal victory.

Match reaction

Denmark coach Jesper Jensen said: “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. 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.”

Sweden coach Tomas Axnér said: “We had to fight for every goal. I think from our side, it was a good match – we played very well. I’m very proud of the girls. They fought and they believed that they could win. In the end it was very close margins for Denmark."

written by Courtney Gahan / jh