13/01/2020

Denmark and Hungary draw takes Iceland to main round

GROUP E REVIEW: A tense group E game to wrap up round two on Sunday night went down to the wire, with a 24:24 draw earning Denmark and Hungary one point apiece, and securing Iceland’s place in the next phase

Once again Roland Mikler stood firm, leading Hungary to victory against Denmark with 11 saves. Photo © Anze Malovrh / kolektiff

With both teams having everything to fight for, it was a thrilling clash to close round two for group E in Malmö, finishing with a tense 24:24 draw and one point each for Denmark and Hungary.

After Denmark trailed for much of the game, it was their use of the seven-on-six tactic in the second period that made for a close finish – and in the end, neither team could take the victory.

  • Denmark take the lead for the first time in the 57th minute, before Hungary pull the game back to draw with the final goal 94 seconds before the end
  • the first draw of the EHF EURO 2020 sees Iceland through to the main round for the first time since 2014, while eliminates Russia from the race
  • captain Niklas Landin has a superb outing for Denmark, with 20 saves at 45 per cent
  • Magnus Bramming scores six goals for the reigning world champions in 43 minutes on court to earn the Grundfos Player of the Match award
  • Denmark’s 16th goal is the national side’s 2,500th at EHF EURO events

GROUP E

Denmark vs Hungary 24:24 (11:13)

The thousands of Danish spectators in Malmö Arena watched their team fighting to level the game throughout the 60 minutes. Hungary had the edge from the outset, and although Denmark equalised several times, they could not claim the upper hand until the 57th minute.

From there, it was a nail-biting conclusion, and after Zoltan Szita levelled the game in the 59th minute, neither team could find the goal again.

Hungary opened a lead as clear as four goals, at 10:6 just past the 20-minute mark, before Denmark, counting on a particularly strong period from Niklas Landin with three saves in the space of two minutes, fought back to level.

With Mads Mensah Larsen’s strike for 10:10 in the 25th, which was the fastest shot of the half at 129km/h, Denmark were in the game. But the reigning world champions managed only one more goal in the half, and a last-second shot from Hungary back Dominik Mathe secured a distance of two at the break.

At half-time, Landin’s nine saves at 43 per cent were a key factor in keeping Denmark within reach – but the Scandinavian side were under pressure with 30 minutes left to fight for their chance to remain in the race for what could make them only the second men’s national team in history to hold all three major titles at once.

When Hungary maintained a steady lead, despite Landin notching up 14 saves by the 40th minute, 15:17, Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen changed to seven-against-six in attack. The well-executed formation of seven attackers and smooth transition back to defence, while allowing no goals in Landin’s absence, allowed Denmark to pull back to level. Once again, it was Mensah who equalised, 18:18 in the 44th.

In a tense end to the match, the difference was just one goal inside the final 10 minutes, 21:22. With a two-goal lead for Hungary in the 54th minute, keeper Jannick Green saved a penalty that paved the way for wing Magnus Bramming to bring Denmark within one. Less than a minute later, Anders Zachariassen scored to equalise, 23:23, and after Landin’s 20th save, it was Denmark’s other line player Rene Toft Hansen who earned them the upper hand for the first time in the game.

Green said he thought Denmark had been lucky to come away with a draw, and that Hungary had been the better side.

"In the end we had a big opportunity to get both points. Therefore, it’s extremely disappointing that we didn’t get it because normally when it’s close in the end I think we are a good team to decide to our advantage. But today, it was not that day," Green added.

Hungarian right back Zsolt Balogh said he was happy and proud of the team's performance, but also disappointed they had not forced the win.

"One little goal and that means more than this one point, so this looks good against Denmark, this one point, but to pass the group, it’s still not enough," Balogh said.

written by Courtney Gahan / br