If they continue like this, there is no reason to not consider Slovenia as a dark horse for a medal come the final weekend of the EHF EURO 2020 in Stockholm.
The Slovenian side earned their third win in a row against Switzerland, 29:25, and move to Malmo for the main round, alongside Sweden or Poland from Group F.
- Slovenia tied their best-ever winning run in the EHF EURO, three games in a row, and will start the main round with two points
- Ljubomir Vranjes’ side progressed to the main round for the second tournament in a row; two years ago, they finished eighth
- Switzerland doubled their winning tally at the EHF EURO in this group, but failed to progress to the next phase
- Andre Schmid was Switzerland’s best scorer in the game, with eight goals, taking his tally for the EHF EURO 2020 to 27
- Slovenia goalkeeper Klemen Ferlin was named player of the match
Switzerland vs Slovenia 25:29 (10:16)
In 2006, Slovenia enjoyed their best start of an EHF EURO ever, winning all three games in the preliminary round. They did not progress to the final weekend that time, but they are surely dreaming about it now, after they tied that record after a superb win against Switzerland.
The recipe was the same: gritty defence, speed in attack and taking advantage of every mistake made by their opponents.
However, it was not a walk in the park at first, with the do-or-die nature of the game clearly being felt by all players.
By the ninth minute, there was more turnovers – nine – than shots – eight – between the two sides. But the all-in mentality of the Swiss side backfired once again, as their risks were punished by the cut-throat Slovenians.
A 6:1 run that stretched between the 14th and the 22nd minute featured three consecutive steals leading to open goals, two of them from right wing Blaz Janc. As a result, Slovenia had a commanding 16:10 lead at half-time.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 14, 2020
There was no way back for the Swiss, despite Andre Schmid being up to his usual antics, as the 36-year old centre back scored 60 per cent of his side’s goals in the first half.
As Vranjes tinkered with his line-up, left back Nik Henigman took control of the game, scoring three times in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
But thanks to Schmid – who also had the fastest shot of the game, 131.4 km/h – the Swiss were still in it with a chance, 25:21, with 11 minutes to go.
Yet there was no chance Slovenia would drop the game. They duly took advantage of Switzerland’s 11 turnovers and capitalised on them, cruising to a 29:25 win.
Slovenia move to Malmö for the main round with two points, while Switzerland are out of the tournament, with just one win in the preliminary round.
Swiss goalkeeper Nikola Portner said their lack of experience showed throughout the tournament. "We're not now a team that is used to playing EHF EURO finals, so we needed a big win against Slovenia and could not get it," he added.
Slovenian right back Nik Henigman said his team could now dream about bigger things.
“We are taking it game by game, we do not think about a medal. But I think we are playing good and after I have also seen other teams, we can dream about it. Why not?” he said, when asked about the chances of a place in the final weekend.