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EHF EURO 2020 semi-finalists join the race for 2022

EHF / Courtney Gahan

After a round 1 that was almost entirely dominated by home teams, 17 nations are ready for the second matches in the Men's EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers this weekend. Another three sides – including the EHF EURO 2020 semi-finalists Norway and Slovenia – will get their qualifier campaigns underway.

In the EHF EURO Cup, Croatia will play their first match against Hungary, who opened this four-team competition with a victory over Spain earlier in the week.


Estonia vs Germany
Sunday 8 November, 15:15 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Germany opened their campaign with a 25:21 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina, but one that required a comeback from the EHF EURO 2016 champions, as they trailed 9:13 at half-time
  • Estonia started their campaign away, recording a close defeat, 31:28, versus Austria in Graz
  • Estonia’s Karl Toom is among the qualifiers’ top scorers after round 1, having netted 10 goals against Austria to rank second alongside Switzerland’s Andy Schmid
  • this will be the first official match between these sides
  • while Germany have missed only one final EHF EURO tournament (2014), Estonia hope to reach their first

Russia vs Ukraine
Saturday 7 November, 13:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Russia and Ukraine will play the only double header of the week, after agreeing to meet on neutral ground in Belarus
  • the round 1 encounter ended in a 27:27 draw, so both sides enter the clash with one point
  • prior to Thursday night’s match, Russia had won seven of the previous games versus Ukraine, with Ukraine coming out on top only once. The teams had never drawn before
  • Russia missed the EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia after bowing out in phase 2 of the qualifiers for that event, but have reached every other final tournament in the history of the competition
  • Ukraine qualified for the EHF EURO 2020 after an absence of 10 years from the final tournament. They reached five EUROs from 2000 to 2010, for a total of six participations in the pinnacle event

Lithuania vs Portugal

Sunday 8 November, 15:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Both teams enter the clash on the back of decisive score lines in their qualifier openers – Portugal following a 31:22 home win versus Israel, Lithuania after a 36:20 loss away against Iceland
  • Portugal will be looking to add another victory to what has been a great year on the EURO stage for them, starting with the historic sixth place in January on their return to the final tournament after a 14-year wait
  • Portugal qualified for five final EHF EURO tournaments spanning from 1994 to 2006 before their participation drought began
  • Lithuania are fighting for a place at their first final EHF EURO tournament since 1998
  • the historical balance between these teams stands at one win apiece and two draws, all in EHF EURO qualification. The last encounters, on the path to the 2020 edition, saw a one-goal win for Portugal and a draw

Italy vs Norway
Sunday 8 November, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams get their qualification campaigns underway with this encounter
  • EHF EURO 2020 bronze medallists Norway are aiming for what would be their 10th final tournament overall. They have reached every final tournament since 2006, and the semi-finals twice in the last three editions
  • Italy have qualified for the EHF EURO once, in 1998
  • the teams have met eight times before, with seven wins for Norway and one draw – but this is the first mutual match since the turn of the century
  • Norway team captain Bjarte Myrhol has a shoulder injury and will not play

Finland vs Denmark
Saturday 7 November, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Finland were defeated away in North Macedonia on Wednesday, 33:24, while Denmark opened with a win against Switzerland, 31:26
  • it has been almost 30 years since the last official match between Finland and Denmark. Denmark have won all three previous matches
  • Denmark have missed only one final EHF EURO tournament, in 1998, and have a collection of medals from the event – two gold, one silver and three bronze
  • Finland have never reached the final tournament, but have been consistently present in the final stages of the qualifiers in recent years
  • team captain and goalkeeper Niklas Landin was named Denmark’s 2019/20 Male National Team Player of the Year on Thursday night, adding to his current IHF World Player of the Year title (2019)

Switzerland vs North Macedonia
Saturday 7 November, 18:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • North Macedonia take the court for the away match after a commanding victory, 33:24, over Finland in round 1
  • Switzerland lost their qualifier opener to Denmark away in Aarhus, 31:26
  • Aside from the team battle for points, it is a clash between two of the current greats of the game: Andy Schmid and Kiril Lazarov. Lazarov netted 11 goals for North Macedonia to top score overall in round 1, while Schmid scored 10 for Switzerland
  • North Macedonia are on the hunt for their sixth consecutive EHF EURO berth, while Switzerland aim for a second after returning to the event in 2020 following a 14-year absence
  • it has been 17 years since Switzerland beat North Macedonia. The Macedonians have won the four encounters since 2003, most recently in 2015 in St Gallen

Kosovo vs Sweden
Sunday 8 November, 17:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Sweden have two points ahead of this match, thanks to a 33:30 victory against Romania on Thursday evening
  • Kosovo lost to Montenegro away in round 1, 32:25
  • it is a case of the team with the most EHF EURO tradition of any versus the newest contesting the qualifiers: Sweden have missed only one final tournament in history and remain the record title holders (four trophies), while Kosovo are contesting only their third qualification phase since starting independent competition
  • it is the first official match between Sweden and Kosovo

Romania vs Montenegro
Sunday 8 November, 17:25 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Romania started their qualifiers campaign with a defeat to Sweden on Thursday, while Montenegro collected two points against Kosovo
  • this could already be one of the critical clashes of the group, as Sweden are considered favourites to proceed and the battle for the group’s second position is seemingly more open
  • Romania competed at the first two EHF EURO events, in 1994 and 1996, and have been waiting for a successful qualifier campaign since then
  • Montenegro made it to the last four final tournaments, as well as the 2008 edition. They have never ranked inside the top 10 however
  • The teams have met four times before, with three wins for Montenegro and one for Romania. Montenegro snatched a one-goal victory, 28:27, in the last clash, played in Bucharest

Croatia vs Hungary
Saturday 7 November, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Hungary will be brimming with confidence after a 32:29 win against the back-to-back European champions Spain in the EHF EURO Cup opener on Wednesday night
  • Croatia have yet to play an EHF EURO Cup match, and will start their campaign with this clash
  • Hungary’s 21-year-old line player Miklos Rosta is the top scorer for the EHF EURO Cup so far, thanks to seven goals against Spain
  • while his older brother Marin is playing the EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers for Austria, 2019 Junior World Championship MVP Ivan Martinovic will play his first competitive match for the senior Croatia side on Saturday

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