The business end of the EHF EURO 2020 is upon us and we are analysing what happened in the tournament, but also what is yet to happen, through the power of emojis.
The EHF EURO 2020 continues to be a goalkeepers’ tournament with astonishing performances from Grundfos players of the match such as Alfredo Quintana, Roland Mikler or Klemen Ferlin, who have all racked up at least 60 saves over their first seven games.
Their performance has helped push the average number of goals scored so far down to just 54.4, continuing a downwards trend since 2014.
Yet there are still five games to be played, so the average could still rise – especially with high-scoring players such as Sander Sagosen, Alex Dujshebaev or Jorge Maqueda still in the tournament.
Norway, Croatia, Spain and Slovenia are the four teams left in the competition and they have only won one EHF EURO trophy between them – Spain’s 2018 title. Therefore there is a 75 per cent chance of a new champion.
The only flawless team in the competition, Norway, with seven wins out of seven games, have never reached the final. Their best-ever EHF EURO result was fourth in 2016, when they lost the bronze medal match 24:31 to Croatia.
Slovenia lost to Germany in the 2004 final and Croatia also have silver medals from 2008 and 2010 in addition to bronze from 1994, 2012 and 2016.
There have been plenty of surprises at EHF EURO 2020, but arguably Portugal’s journey to Stockholm and the 5/6 placement match against Germany is the biggest.
Few would have given Portugal a chance of making the main round, after being drawn in the same group as Norway and France, but they beat “Les Experts” to progress to Malmö.
There, Portugal beat Sweden and Hungary while losing to Norway and Slovenia, with the last round victory over Hungary securing them their best-ever EHF EURO result and a chance at Olympic qualification.
It was hard work, but they look like a great side that have a great future ahead of them.
Wild celebrations from @AndebolPortugal ????????, who have won a match, plus a place in both the 5/6 placement match and the Olympic qualification tournaments!#ehfeuro2020 #dreamwinremember pic.twitter.com/70b6OZmzci
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 22, 2020
He might have been rested in the game against Slovenia, but there seems little doubt that Sander Sagosen will win the top goal scorer trophy in the EHF EURO 2020. The 24-year old Norwegian playmaker had already scored 51 goals before the final weekend of the tournament and has a 19-goal advantage over Jure Dolenec, the next player in this ranking to feature in the semi-finals.
Sagosen has already become Norway’s all-time top scorer at the EHF EURO with a total of 114 goals – but there is another crown he could also take. He is only 10 goals shy of Kiril Lazarov’s 61-goal performance in 2012. Sagosen only needs 11 goals in the last two games, and given that he has averaged 8.5 goals per game so far, there could be a new goal-scoring king by Sunday night.
On the eve of the EHF EURO 2020 semi-finals, the guys from the (Un)informed Handball Hour have a bumper edition of their podcast. Chris and Alex go at it in a head-to-head debate about which teams will progress to the final. The crew also sat down to have a chat with Hanna Fogelström, ex-Swedish national team player turned TV handball pundit to talk all things Sweden and much more.
To wrap up, Croatian EHF EURO 2020 refereeing duo Matija and Boris answered the listeners' questions, tackled some of the tricky situations they face on and off the court, and discusss the life of a referee at such major events.