Sweden ended the preliminary round with a predictable win against Poland, 28:26, yet the 12,000 fans in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg felt they wanted more from their favourites.
With three losses in three games and a goal difference of -12, Poland are out of the tournament.
- Sweden and Slovenia are the teams that progressed to the main round, with Slovenia starting the group in Malmö with two points, while Sweden are on zero points
- Switzerland and Poland finished third and fourth in the group and are out of the competition
- Poland failed to progress to the main round for the third time, after losing all three games in the preliminary round in 2002 and 2004
- four Swedish players scored five goals in the win against Poland, but the Grundfos Player of the Match was centre back Jim Gottfridsson
- despite playing for only 18 minutes, Swedish goalkeeper Mikael Appelgren racked up five saves for a 45 per cent save efficiency
Poland vs Sweden 26:28 (13:14)
Poland had won three of the five previous mutual games against Sweden at the EHF EURO and few teams could have boasted a better record against the Swedish side in the tournament.
But this was a do-or-die game for the young Polish side, who needed a 11-goal win to take out the Swedish side. Predictably, it did not happen.
Boosted by a 12,000-strong crowd in Gothenburg, Sweden got off to a rocky start, but sealed the deal in the second half.
As soon as centre back Jim Gottfridsson started turning technical faults into assists, Sweden got the better of Poland, as highlighted by their 5:0 run that prevented Poland from scoring for seven minutes and 36 seconds.
Although Poland had built their own 5:0 run a few minutes before, as Sweden amped up their defence, their attacking efficiency collapsed to 57 per cent from a high of 72 per cent.
While Sweden led 14:13 at the break, Poland took back the lead early in the second half after another pair of Gottfridsson turnovers, 16:15. Yet it was the centre back who helped Sweden ease back into the game, with three goals in a row, including the fastest goal of the game – 136.9 km/h.
With left back Kim Ekdahl du Rietz in superb form, a 4:0 run for Sweden between the 42nd and 48th minute helped them secure their second win of the tournament, 28:26.
They are through to the main round in Malmö, yet they will start the group with zero points. Poland go home after losing all three games in the competition.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 14, 2020
Swedish line player Andreas Nilsson said Poland had made the win tough, ending a hard preliminary round for the co-hosts.
"No game was easy and they will be only getting harder and harder," Nilsson added.
His Polish counterpart Kamil Syprzak said Poland would take heart from the way they had fought.
"It is an experience, we will build upon it and maybe, in the next years, we will see the same Polish side who fought for medals in the past," Syprzak concluded.