Iceland start with clear win
The second day of round 1 matches for group B at the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 saw Iceland enjoy a solid win against Portugal, 28:24.
Iceland thereby joined the Netherlands on two points as the opening round for the group came to a close, while Portugal and EURO co-hosts Hungary are left waiting for their first points. The Netherlands defeated Hungary 31:28 in one of the biggest surprises of day one at the EURO.
- after a close first 19 minutes, Iceland put in the distance and held command through the rest of the match to collect a strong win — their second consecutive victory against Portugal at a final EURO tournament after they took the points when the teams met in the main round in 2020
- Iceland’s 6-0 defence caused Portugal frustration, particularly early on and for usually highly dangerous line players Victor Iturriza and Daymaro Salina and the backs who like to feed them assists
- Iceland had two empty-goal chances just before 10 minutes during a suspension for Portugal, but did not capitalise on the opportunities and, due to those misses plus some nice saves from Gustavo Capdeville, had to wait longer to open their clearer lead
- three straight goals saw Iceland move from 7:7 to 10:7, and Portugal could never come closer than two goals — which they managed three times before half-time — from that point. In the second half, the closest distance was three goals
- Sigvaldi Bjørn Gudjonsson was named Grundfos Player of the Match after scoring five goals for Iceland
Portugal looking for consistency
Two years ago they were one of the biggest stories of the EHF EURO 2020, as they returned to the competition after 14 years and recorded their best ranking ever, sixth.
That result, combined with the rising individual profiles of their players in international club competitions, has meant Portugal are a team no other side will underestimate — but they have not managed to replicate their EURO 2020 success yet.
In January 2021, Portugal also made a return to the World Championship after a long wait, but they did not live up to their lofty goals and missed the quarter-finals, finishing 10th. Six months later, the team made their Olympic debut, but again they missed the knockout round, ranking ninth.
After a breakthrough performance, next comes the challenge of finding consistency, and that is the journey Portugal face at this EURO.
I think Portugal is the best team in the world to play seven-against-six, and I am very, very happy how we performed in this situation. I think most of the time we played well. We had a clear plan and we followed it.
It was a tough game for us. They made it tough and they played really well. In the first half we missed good chances from six metres and we went to half-time a few goals back. In the second half we tried to come back and make our job but they were stronger today.