20220121

Netherlands, Croatia and Iceland target main round points

Tokyo 2020 Olympic finalists France and Denmark are the only teams in group I to enter the second main round day in Budapest on the maximum four points, and both will aim to extend their winning runs at the EHF EURO 2022 on Saturday.

The two will meet teams eager to earn their first points in this stage after losses in their opening main round games: France play Iceland, while Denmark take on Croatia.

The opening match of the day sees Montenegro and the Netherlands meeting for their first ever EHF EURO duel.

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Netherlands
Saturday 22 January, 15:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Montenegro enter the round 2 match with two points in their account following an impressive win against Croatia in their main round opener, 32:26 — their fourth EHF EURO victory overall in 22 games in the competition
  • the Netherlands were defeated by France in their first main round game, 24:34, and will hope to recover to collect their first win in history in this stage
  • the match pits two of the top scorers of the EHF EURO 2022 against each other. The Netherlands’ Kay Smits leads the individual race with 36 goals, while Montenegro’s Branko Vujovic has scored 27 and sits fifth overall, but clearly top in the category of field goals only
  • Montenegro goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic has been one of his side’s biggest weapons and sits joint-second in the ranking of most saves at the EURO, with a total of 36
  • the only two previous duels were back in 2007 in the EHF EURO 2008 qualifiers on the path to Montenegro’s first ever participation. Montenegro won at home and the other game was a draw

Zoran Roganovic, Montenegro coach: “We did an excellent game today [vs Croatia]. It was really something that we want to keep going. I hope that, in the future, we can keep that pace. I am looking forward for the next games and, hopefully, more wins.”

Luc Steins, Netherlands centre back: “We have to quickly focus on Montenegro, because that will be a key game for us. If we win, the last two games will be interesting to play for us. We are starting to be tired, but we will be going for the best.”

France vs Iceland
Saturday 22 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • France come into their second main round match with the maximum four points, following a decisive victory against the Netherlands to open this stage
  • Iceland had a strong showing against Denmark in their main round opener, but were defeated 24:28. They bring two points into round 2
  • three goals against the Netherlands brought Nikola Karabatic’s overall EHF EURO tally to 270. He now sits 18 goals behind the top scorer of all time in the competition — a player from none other than Iceland: Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson
  • this clash will be France’s 100th at the Men’s EHF EURO. Their overall record stands at 63 wins, nine draws and 27 losses — plus five medals
  • the teams have a long mutual history, which has seen 12 victories for France, six for Iceland and three draws. Of the four EHF EURO encounters, France won two and two ended in draws

Aymeric Minne, France back: “Iceland will be the same kind of game that we had against The Netherlands. A very young team, that likes to play fast handball. If we remain focused, I'm sure we can go for the win in this one as well.”

Gudmundur Gudmundsson, Iceland coach: “We are going to play against France tomorrow and I think I want to wait to talk about this match before we know tomorrow how the situation is with the team. We have our third corona test today after the game and I’m just going to wait to speak about the game against France until I know the situation.”

20220121 Gpi Preview ISL

Denmark vs Croatia
Saturday 22 January, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Croatia lost their first game in the main round 26:32 to Montenegro — their first ever EURO defeat to the side — and remain on zero points in group I
  • Denmark had a tough fight against Iceland in their main round opener but secured a 28:24 win to be the only other group I side, together with France, on the maximum four points
  • Croatia right wing Ivan Cupic joined the top 10 of all-time EHF EURO scorers in their main round opener, with a tally of 179 now. He needs just three more goals to equal Macedonian Kiril Lazarov and Czech Republic’s Jan Filip so looks set to climb higher
  • goalkeeper Kevin Møller and right back Mathias Gidsel were the key standouts for Denmark against Iceland. Møller made 14 saves at 52 per cent while Gidsel scored nine goals from 10 attempts and made 10 assists
  • the head-to-head record between the teams is almost equal, with 10 wins for Denmark and nine for Croatia across all competitions, while Denmark won five times at the EHF EURO and Croatia four

Ivan Martinovic, Croatia right back: “Now we will play against Denmark - one of the best teams, a favourite for the championship - with heads up for sure. We had now a really bad game [vs Montenegro], and now we need to focus on Denmark and what we should do better than today. And I hope, I think, that against Denmark, we will have a lot of fans and this will push us a lot and we will play for sure better.”

Nikolaj Jacobsen, Denmark coach: “For us it’s difficult to prepare for the matches because we don’t know who is going to play. But it’s a big handball country with a lot of good players, so we expect a tough match like today [vs Iceland], as it should be in the main round.”

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