03/12/2020

Familiar opponents clash again in EHF EURO group D

GROUP D PREVIEW: Romania and Germany face each other for the third European championship in a row, while Norway eye a win against Poland

Cristina Neagu and Xenia Smits in action as Romania play Germany at EHF EURO 2018. Photo © Nebojsa Tejic / kolektiff

For the second tournament running Romania, Norway and Germany will meet in the EHF EURO group phase. In 2018 all three teams recorded wins against the Czech Republic to proceed to the main round.

This year, Norway will try to avenge the losses that set them back throughout the 2018 tournament, when they finishing fifth, Norway’s worst European championship ranking in the past 18 years.

With both sides suffering setbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Romania and Germany will throw off the tournament in the Sydbank Arena in Kolding, as a young German side tries to weather the storm against an in-form Cristina Neagu.

Later, Norway will meet Poland, trying to extend their winning streak against the Polish side at the EHF EURO to four games.

GROUP D

Romania vs Germany
Thursday, 3 December, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Germany’s coach, Henk Groener, will miss the game, as he has not yet made the trip to Denmark due to a positive Covid-19 test
  • Germany will have assistant coach Alexander Koke on the bench for their starting game at the EHF EURO 2020
  • Romania were forced to make two changes to their squad, CSM Bucuresti pair Crina Pintea and Laura Moisa tested positive for Covid-19
  • Romania’s captain, left back Cristina Neagu, will play her 40th EHF EURO match. She is only the 16th player to hit that milestone
  • although Germany holds the advantage in mutual games at the EHF EURO with five wins in seven games, Romania won the most recent clashes: 23:22 in 2016 and 29:24 two years ago in the group phase

Dinah Eckerle, goalkeeper, Germany: “We have lost the last two matches at EHF EURO events against Romania, now we have the chance to take revenge. If we want to be successful, we have to stop Cristina Neagu of course. But I guess, we are strong enough this time, and we have a history in showing strong performances in our openers.”

Cristina Neagu, left back, Romania: “I am grateful that we can play handball, it is fantastic for this tournament to be organised. Our national team did not play a game since last year’s World Championship, so it will be difficult for us, this is a big minus for us, but we can write all off, provided we have the proper team spirit.”

Norway vs Poland
Thursday, 3 December, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Poland’s coach, Arne Senstad is a former Norwegian handball player and coached Storhamar and Oppsal between 2006 and 2019
  • Senstad was twice elected the best coach in Norwegian women’s handball, in 2012 and 2017
  • Poland have failed to proceed to the main round in their past two European championships, losing their last six games in the competition. Their last win came in 2014, against Russia
  • Norway have 11 wins in 14 competitive games against Poland, including an eight-game winning streak, dating back to 1985 and all three games played at the EHF EURO between the two sides
  • provided they win on Thursday, Norway will become the first ever team in the EHF EURO to hit the 80-win mark. They currently have an otherworldly winning percentage of 80.6 per cent

Thorir Hergeirsson, coach, Norway: "The game against Poland is our main focus, we prepared very well for it in the last few days. It is easy to immerse yourself in other discussions, but we must stay focused on the task at hand and prepare for the handball games."

Arne Senstad, coach, Poland: "From an objective standpoint, right now they are at another level from us, focusing on winning another gold medal, while Poland is just trying to build something for the future."

written by Adrian Costeiu / jh