20201007

Croats and Czechs feeling the pressure

EHF / Björn Pazen

After Croatia’s defeat against Ukraine was the only real surprise in round 1 of the Women’s EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers, it means that group 4 is the focus on a busy weekend for round 2, which will see one match on Saturday and 11 on Sunday.

GROUP 1
Lithuania vs Russia
Saturday 9 October at 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • in the debut for Liudmila Bodnieva as new Russian head coach, the rejuvenated team played a strong and efficient 40-minute spell, finally beating Switzerland 26:22
  • top scorers for the Russian side were young talents Elena Mikhaylichenko and Valeriia Kirdiasheva
  • Lithuanian Roberta Strope was the top scorer with seven goals in the clear 36:22 defeat against Poland on Wednesday
  • Lithuania had a week finish, conceding seven straight goals at the end
  • Russia had won both previous encounters against Lithuania clearly - 26:19 at the 1993 World Championship and a 31:16 at EHF EURO 1996.

Switzerland vs Poland
Sunday 10 October at 15:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Poland set a sign of strength in their opener, beating Lithuania 36:22, thanks to a strong team performance and a brilliant 9:1 start
  • despite a clear deficit in their opener at Russia, the Swiss side did not give up - and even won the second half against the Tokyo Olympic silver medallists, losing 26:22
  • both sides will play with a certain Scandinavian style, as Switzerland count on a Danish coach (Martin Albertsen) and Poland on a Norwegian coach (Arne Senstad)
  • Switzerland lost all three previous official matches against Poland in World Championship qualifications for 2003 and 2009 with margins between eight and eleven goals

GROUP 2
Faroe Islands vs Denmark
Sunday 10 October at 17:15 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • it is the first competitive women’s match between the neighbours - in the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 qualification, both sides had already duelled, with two wins for the Danes.
  • officially, Faroe Islands are a self-governing overseas administrative division of the kingdom of Denmark
  • seven Faroe players are playing for Danish clubs
  • on Thursday, Denmark struggled to finally beat Austria 27:22
  • Faroe Islands brought a tough fight to Romania and were on an equal level for more than 40 minutes, before losing 26:19

Austria vs Romania
Sunday 10 October at 18:10 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the match will be a special one for Austria’s coach Herbert Müller, who is born in Timisoara, Romania, and has coached Romanian club Brasov
  • the duel is already the 17th clash of both sides in official matches, Romania won ten matches, including the last six, while the last of Austria’s six dates back to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney
  • both sides have qualified for the 2021 World Championship in Spain
  • while Romania had a higher hurdle to clear than expected to beat Faroe Islands, Austria stood strong against Denmark before falling short

GROUP 3
Greece vs Netherlands
Sunday 10 October at 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the Dutch side won both previous matches against Greece clearly (37:20 and 43:18), the latter was their third-highest number of goals in qualifiers, only below the 45 they managed twice against Bulgaria in qualification for EHF EURO 2016
  • the Greek side was overpowered by Germany on Thursday, losing 36:10
  • the hosts, who never qualified for a European or World Championship, are without their top star Lamprini Tsakalou due to injury.
  • Netherlands enjoyed a 38:27 goal fest in the debut of their interim coach Monique Tijsterman

Germany vs Belarus
Sunday 10 October at 19:30 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • it is the fourth time Germany and Belarus face in Women’s EHF EURO qualifiers, the Germans have won all previous encounters
  • in total, Germany are unbeaten against Belarus with six victories and one draw at the EHF EURO 2008 in Skopje
  • Belarus, not qualified for any EHF EURO since 2008, suffered a heavy defeat in their away match against the Netherlands 38:27
  • Germany set a new record for their largest win in qualification with a 36:10 against Greece and conceded only two goals after the break

GROUP 4
Czech Republic vs Croatia
Sunday 10 October at 17:20 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • this is the only duel this weekend between two team with a defeat to their name and both will feel the pressure to deliver a victory
  • the Croats, bronze medallists of the EHF EURO 2020, lost their first home match in EHF EURO qualification since 2018 against Ukraine 23:22
  • the Czechs were shaken by their largest defeat in an EHF EURO qualifier on Wednesday, 38:22 in France
  • it is only the second time, both sides face in an official match, after the Czechs had won the group phase duel at EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia 24:22

Ukraine vs France
Sunday 10 October at 17:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • backed by six goals of Iryna Glibko, Ukraine caused the only major surprise of Round 1, beating Croatia
  • though only six players from the Olympic final played, France took an outstanding 38:22 victory against the Czechs on Wednesday
  • while France won a full set of medals at the last three EHF EURO final tournaments (bronze, gold, silver), Ukraine’s last participation at a European Championship was in 2014.
  • in 13 matches so far, France won eight times, Ukraine four, one match ended in a tie
  • the biggest previous duels of both sides were in 2003, when France won the World Championship semi-final in Zagreb after extra-time 28:26, and 2004, when Ukraine struck back and won the bronze final at the Athens 2004 Olympics 21:18

GROUP 5
Portugal vs Spain
Sunday 10 October at 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • thanks to an improvement in the last 15 minutes, Spain took a finally clear 33:28 victory in their opener against Slovakia to serve new coach Jose Ignacio Prades a happy debut
  • Portugal stood strong at times against Hungary but finally lost by ten goals
  • the match will be a special one for Alexandrina Barbosa Cabral, who was born in Portugal and later took Spanish citizenship - this match will be her first against the country of her birth
  • the Iberian neighbours have only met twice in competitive action and Spain won both matches in 1988 (17:10) and 2008 (29:24)

Slovakia vs Hungary
Sunday 10 October at 18:15 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • in the debut of their new coach Vladimir Golovin, the rejuvenated Hungarian team beat Portugal 34:24 in round 1
  • Reka Bizik (9 goals), Nikoleta Trunkova and Simona Szarkova (both 7) scored 23 out of 28 for the Slovaks in their 28:33 defeat at Spain
  • Hungary won six duels against their neighbours, Slovakia two, twice they tied, including in their last duel, 2017 in Bratislava
  • both sides have qualified for the 2021 World Championship in Spain

GROUP 6
Iceland vs Serbia
Sunday 10 October at 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Iceland were defeated heavily by Sweden, 30:17, after only scoring five goals in the first half
  • in the first EHF EURO qualifier under new coach Uros Bregar, Serbia celebrated an easy-going 36:27 win over Turkey
  • never before have these sides locked horns in an official match
  • while Serbia had been part of all EHF EURO final tournaments since 2006, Iceland’s last participation was in 2012, hosted by Serbia

Turkey vs Sweden
Sunday 10 October at 17:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Turkey only won four of 21 matches in the EHF EURO qualifications since 2014
  • while Turkey never qualified for any EHF EURO final tournament, Sweden were part of all events since 2002, winning two medals - silver in 2010 and bronze in 2014
  • Sweden won their opener easily against Iceland, while Turkey were left stranded in Serbia
  • it is the first official match between both teams

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