A thrilling clash closed round 2 for group B at the Women’s EHF EURO 2020, with the match ending in a 23:23 draw to secure Spain their first point on the table and take Sweden to three.
The last time Spain and Sweden met in an official match, at the World Championship 2019, it ended in a draw, so the close encounter was not unexpected. Overall, it is the fourth draw in official matches between the teams and the first at the EHF EURO.
Spain vs Sweden 23:23 (13:10)
- Spain led through the majority of the first half, apart from a brief period before the 10-minute mark where an unanswered 4:0 run from Sweden saw them take a 6:3 advantage
- Spain reclaimed the upper hand by the 15th minute, and created a three-goal lead for half-time
- Spain’s strong defensive system was on display in a way it was not against Russia in round 1, supported by a huge game from goalkeeper Silvia Navarro, who hovered near 50 per cent all through the first half. She made 15 saves total and was named Player of the Match
- Melissa Petrén stood out for Sweden, entering the court for attack only, leading the offence as playmaker and scoring eight goals
- after trailing at half-time, Sweden came back to equalise in the 43rd minute, 18:18, and from there neither side could pull away to clinch the win
A goalkeeping rollercoaster
Both Sweden and Spain have had wildly varied goalkeeping performances so far.
On Saturday night, Silvia Navarro was in her best form for Spain, but that was not the case in their opener. The long-time national team player, part of four out of five of Spain’s medal wins in international competitions, stopped five shots versus Russia – incomparable with the spectacular show against Sweden.
For Sweden, Jessica Ryde started against Spain after a superb second half versus the Czech Republic in round 1 – seven saves at 41 per cent. But she stopped only three shots versus the ‘Guerreras’, before Filippa Idéhn entered and recorded five.
Spain coach Carlos Viver said: "I believe the game was really joyful for everyone. The group is very even and it’s really open for everyone. Right now our objective is to win against the Czech Republic and just to try our best.”
Sweden coach Tomas Axnér said: "In the end, we were a penalty away from winning the game. I am just glad Spain did not score in the last attack. We could have won the game, maybe we should have also. But I am also proud and happy about one point.”