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50th French victory in an EHF EURO qualifier

EHF / Björn Pazen

Three-time Men’s EHF EURO champions France have won their first match on court in the EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers: After a defeat and a draw against Serbia in January, the team of head coach Guillaume Gille took a convincing 40:31 win at Greece in a match they had decided already at the break. For the hosts the chances to qualify for the final tournament have decreased after this high-scoring match of the qualification. 

France had an anniversary to celebrate on Tuesday night: In their 61st EHF EURO qualification match, they took their 50th victory on court (not taking in account the assessed matches against Belgium). France had qualified for all EHF EURO final tournaments so far. 

GROUP 1:  

Greece vs France 31:40 (16:22)

  • in the first half, France had scored only two goals fewer than after 60 minutes at their 24:27 defeat at Serbia in January; after the break, Greece clearly improved in defence and were backed by saves from goalkeeper Petros Boukovinas. 
  • the 71 overall goals were the highest score in all EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers so far, and the 40 French goals are the most of a single team in the qualifiers along with the Danish 40:22 victory against Finland. 
  • while Ludovic Fabregas and Kentin Mahe scored each six goals for France, Efthimios Iliopoulos was top scorer of the match by seven strikes. 
  • both sides lock horns again on Sunday; in the meantime, Greece host Serbia on Thursday.  
  • In this group, all Belgian matches were cancelled and assessed by 2:0 points and 10:0 goals for the respective opponents, as due to Belgium COVID laws the team had to withdraw from the qualification. 

Greece need a miracle to proceed 

After the home defeat against Greece remain on their four points assessed from the matches against Belgium. To book the ticket to the EHF EURO 2022 definitely, the Greek need to win both remaining matches against Serbia at home on Thursday and at France on Sunday. Having beaten France only once (in 2005) before, they need a huge miracle. As for the four best third-ranked teams, which qualify for the final tournament, only the results against the two top teams count, the hopes could get shattered on Thursday. Greece still wait for their first ever EHF EURO participation.

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