05/12/2020

World Championship runners-up Spain hungry for first win

GROUP B PREVIEW: Spain are targeting their first points of the EHF EURO 2020 when they meet Sweden in round 2, while Russia aim for another two points against the Czech Republic

Spain will be hopeful of points against Sweden on Saturday. Photo © Uros Hocevar / kolektiff

Round 2 for group B at the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 sees Russia and Sweden aiming to add to their opening victories, while the Czech Republic and Spain hope to recover from disappointing losses.

The 2018 silver medallists Russia will take on the Czech Republic to open the day on Saturday in Herning, before Sweden meet World Championship 2019 silver medallists Spain, who they can expect to find very hungry to put their first points on the table.

GROUP B

Czech Republic vs Russia
Saturday 5 December, 18:15 CET, live on EHFTV

while Russia finished with a decisive 31:22 win against Spain, the Czech Republic missed the chance to snatch their first victory in history over Sweden, suffering a 23:27 defeat

Russia had a solid all-round performance in round 1, with 12 of their players making it onto the score board and no individual adding more than four goals. Back Vladlena Bobrovnikova earned the Player of the Match plaudits

in contrast, Czech Republic were led by goalkeeper Petra Kudláčková, with 13 saves, including four penalties, and Markéta Jeřábková, whose eight goals made her the top scorer of day one at the EURO

the last time the Czech Republic beat Russia was in 1994; Russia have won all four official matches since then

that EURO clash won by the Czech Republic in 1994 remains Russia’s record for the lowest number of goals scored in one game – 17:19

Jan Basný, Czech Republic coach: “The positive outtake is that we showed ourselves that after a year without a match, we were able to prepare ourselves in a very good way for this tournament and we can play a very tough game with such a tough team as Sweden. Our goal is the same as before the tournament – to get to the main round.”

Ambros Martin, Russia coach: “We are really satisfied, not only for the two points against Spain, but also because we came over this bad moment we had at the start of the game, and during the full first half, to come up and make a really good job in the second half. This is just the start, we start with two points. The way is long, but we will go game by game and we will see where we can put our feet in the next couple of weeks.”

Spain vs Sweden
Saturday 5 December, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

Spain opened with a difficult match against Russia, which ended 31:22 in favour of the 2018 runners-up; Sweden beat the Czech Republic 27:23 in round 1

goalkeeper Jessica Ryde had a particularly great game for Sweden in the opener, recording seven saves at 41 per cent in 27 minutes on court

Sweden line player Linn Blohm, All-star Team line player at the World Championship 2019, received the Player of the Match award in the first match after her five goals

player tracking technology showed that three Spanish players were among those that recorded the top sprinting speed on day one – 28 km/h, from wings Jennifer Gutierrez, Marta Lopez and Soledad Lopez

in 11 previous mutual encounters, Sweden have won seven, Spain one and there have been three draws. Sweden have won both EURO clashes between the sides

Tomas Axnér, Sweden coach: “It was a tough game. We knew we had to win the game because on paper Czech Republic is the weakest team so it was important for us to have the two points.”

Lara Gonzalez, Spain left back: “It is never nice to start the championship like that, but it’s just the beginning, it’s just the first match. There’s a long way. Last year we won the silver. We are just going to fight.

“We knew this year was going to be really difficult. It’s a special year, with all the situations we are living and we are going to fight to go as far as we can.”

written by Courtney Gahan / jh