After the 80-minute thriller of Croatia vs Spain, the second semi-final was also close. However, thanks to an efficient performance, their strong defence and the last three goals from Alex Dujshebaev, Spain ended Slovenia’s hopes with a 34:32 victory.
The defending champions will face Croatia in the final on Sunday, in the re-match of the main round at Vienna, which ended in a 22:22 tie.
- Spain will play their sixth EHF EURO final, and their third in a row after silver in 2016 and gold in 2018
- Spain could become the first team since Sweden in 2002 to defend an EHF EURO title
- Spain extended their unbeaten run at EHF EURO events to 10 matches
- like Croatia, Spain arrive unbeaten in the final after seven victories each and the draw in the direct duel in Vienna
- Slovenian Jure Dolenec was top scorer with seven goals, while Angel Fernandez, Dujshebaev and player of the match Raul Entrerrios each scored six times for Spain
Spain vs Slovenia 34:32 (20:15)
After a dominant Spanish performance for most of the match, Alex Dujshebaev’s last three goals were what decided the match in the defending champions’ favour after another thriller in Stockholm.
Slovenia tried their luck with high speed in the initial period, but caused too many turnovers to really endanger the Spaniards.
As usual, Spain’s defence was the key, building the base for many counter attack goals. Angel Fernandez and Raul Entrerrios punished all Slovenian mistakes immediately and were the key to stretching out Spain’s lead as the first half progressed.
A double strike from Fernandez provided Spain with their first five-goal advance at 18:13 – and when the first 30 minutes were over, the fans at Stockholm had seen the second highest half-time score at this tournament (20:15), only topped by 19:17 in the main round duel between Belarus against Austria.
After an early time-out by Swedish-born Slovenian coach Ljubomir Vranjes in minute 40, his side increased their attacking efficiency – mainly thanks to Blaz Janc and Jure Dolenec. But they could not get closer than to three goals in that period, as the Spanish wings Fernandez and Aleix Gomez were still unstoppable.
The clock was ticking and the Slovenians needed to risk it all. They managed to really endanger Spain thanks to a 5:1 run to the score of 32:33, but then Dujshebaev made Spain jump for joy with a goal in the final minute that secured the win.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 24, 2020
Thanks to this victory, Spain also took late revenge for the elimination from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, when Slovenia had beaten them in the qualification tournament.
Spain's coach Jordi Ribera said: “We played fantastic today and I’m happy we could reach the final. We knew it would be a difficult game. I said yesterday we were are here among the best four teams in the competition and knew that Slovenia are difficult to play against in attack. We tried our best to stop them and I’m glad it worked out well."