A taste of EHF EURO in Vienna

NEWS ROUND-UP: Some 5,000 fans create a great atmosphere in Stadthalle despite Austria's defeat by Germany, while Denmark beat France in the Golden League

Austria lost to Germany in their final friendly game, but remained positive. Photo © ÖHB / Eva Manhart Diener

The last few days have seen the final preparations for EHF EURO 2020 participants, as the first teams arrive at the venues for the preliminary round ahead of Thursday’s first matches.

Austria optimistic despite defeat

Vienna is ready to rumble. This was the clear signal from the last Austrian test match in the EHF EURO 2020 venue Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna.

Despite a 28:32 defeat against Germany, the EHF EURO hosts were more than satisfied.

“I really have a good feeling for the tournament,” said Austrian head coach Ales Pajovic on his birthday on Monday, adding: “We fought well against a top nation, and we know exactly what we still have to do until our opener on Friday against the Czechs.”

Definitely, the audience was already worth an EHF EURO with 5,000 fans creating a great atmosphere on an Austrian public holiday.

The injury-hit Germans were a bit weaker than in their 33:25 win against Iceland on Saturday.

“We know that there is room for improvement, but in general we’re functioning as a team already,” said coach Christian Prokop.

Denmark edge out France in Golden League

Denmark have underlined their ambitions for the EHF EURO by a thrilling, but well-deserved 31:30 win against France in the final match of the Golden League. Michael Damgaard scored the winning goal for the Danes, who had beaten Norway 28:26 the day before.

The Norwegians finished the Golden League tournament victorious with a clear 38:28 win against Serbia – and now hope for more success in the sold-out arena in Trondheim, where they will face Bosnia & Herzegovina on Thursday.

Four more EHF EURO participants clashed in Torrevieja, Spain, and the hosts defended their last year’s trophy by a never-endangered 32:24 victory in the final match against Russia. Alex Dujshebaev was the top scorer with six goals.

In the second match of the final day, Portugal gained confidence with a 34:27 win against Poland.

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News in brief

Germany and Spain – the 2016 and 2018 EHF EURO champions, who clash in Group C - travelled to Trondheim with 17 players each. Spanish coach Jordi Ribera cut David Fernandez from his list, while the Germans had started their preparation with only those 17 players. Both sides must announce their 16 players for their openers in the technical meeting on Wednesday.

Luka Stepancic will carry even more Croatian hopes during the EHF EURO, as unfortunately the third right back Ivan Martinovic will miss the tournament after he broke his foot in the training camp in Porec. Besides Martinovic, coach Lino Cervar has to replace Lovro Mihic, Fran Mileta and Luka Sebetic.

EHF EURO debutants Netherlands will not have defence boss Fabian van Olphen on hand during the EHF EURO. Coach Erlingur Richardsson decided that van Olphen’s knee injury was too severe to bring him to Trondheim, where the Dutch face Germany in their opener on Thursday.  

Three starting seven players of world and Olympic champions Denmark are in question for their EHF EURO opener: Lasse Svan, Rasmus Lauge and Magnus Landin are suffering from minor injuries. Meanwhile two Hungarian stars are missing out: Mate Lekai and Richard Bodo.

written by Björn Pazen / jh