14/06/2019

Game on: 14 teams battle for last 10 tickets

ROUND 6 PREVIEW: The EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers face a dramatic conclusion on Sunday as half of the qualifying spots are still up for grabs

Switzerland are among the teams which can book their EHF EURO 2020 ticket in the last round of qualifiers on Sunday

Sunday will be D-Day for the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers.

Only half of the 20 available qualification tickets have been booked prior to the concluding Round 6 games. All 16 matches will be played at the same time on Sunday at 1800 CET and they are all streamed live on ehfTV.com.

Co-hosts Austria, Norway and Sweden as well as defending champions Spain will be joined by the winners and runners-up of all eight qualifiers groups plus the four best third-ranked teams.

When comparing all third-ranked teams, only their results against the top-two teams from their respective group are taken into account.

The criteria for the ranking positions are as follows:

  • higher number of points,
  • superior goal difference,
  • higher number of goals scored.

If teams are still level, a draw will decide.

The three worst fourth-ranked teams will have to play a relegation/promotion round with Cyprus, Luxembourg and the best-ranked European team of the Emerging Nations Championship in Georgia in order to earn a place in the EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers.

For the ranking of those fourth-place teams, all their qualifying results are taken into account.

This is the current situation in the eight groups:

GROUP 1

Germany vs Kosovo
Poland vs Israel

Germany have qualified and are the only team of all groups with the maximum of 10 points. Israel (four points) and Poland (three) fight for second place when they meet in Poland on Sunday: the hosts must win while a draw will be enough for Israel to finish runners-up. Kosovo are also on three points but cannot reach the second place anymore. However, if they beat Germany, they have an excellent chance to qualify as one of the four best third-ranked teams.

GROUP 2

Croatia vs Belgium
Serbia vs Switzerland

Unbeaten Croatia are already confirmed as the group winners with nine points. Their last match against Belgium, which are out of the qualifying race with just one point, has no effect on the allocation of EHF EURO 2020 berths. The crucial duel is the match between Serbia (four points) and Switzerland (six). After winning the home leg 29:24, even a four-goal defeat would be enough for the Swiss side to clinch their first EHF EURO berth since 2006. Serbia must win by six goals, or by five if the final result is lower than 29:24. If they win by less than five goals, Serbia still have a good chance to proceed with three points from their matches against the top-two teams.

GROUP 3

Iceland vs Turkey
North Macedonia vs Greece

Before hosting their neighbours Greece, North Macedonia (seven points) have already qualified. Iceland are in the best position to join the Macedonians at EHF EURO 2020: Iceland (six) host Turkey (four) and can afford to lose by up to 10 goals, after they won the first leg in Turkey 33:22. If Greece (three) win and Turkey do not win, Greece will qualify with five points from the relevant matches.

GROUP 4

Slovenia vs Estonia
Netherlands vs Latvia

Slovenia and Latvia (both on eight points) have booked their EHF EURO 2020 tickets. Third-place Netherlands are currently on four points - but only from their wins against eliminated Estonia. Even a win against Latvia would leave the Dutch team with only a mathematical chance of qualifying.

GROUP 5

Czech Republic vs Bosnia-Herzegovina
Belarus vs Finland

Three teams still have all to play for. Czech Republic are leading with eight points but are still not guaranteed of first or second place in the group, with both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belarus following on six points. Belarus are the favourites against Finland (zero points), so the Czech-Bosnian duel is a crucial one. The hosts only need a draw to finish top of the group, while the Bosnians need a clear win to remain in the race.

GROUP 6

Portugal vs Lithuania
France vs Romania

The only group with nothing at stake on Sunday: France and Portugal (both on eight points) are confirmed as EHF EURO 2020 participants, while Lithuania and Romania (both on two points) cannot advance anymore.

GROUP 7

Hungary vs Italy
Russia vs Slovakia

The top-two positions have been locked up by unbeaten Hungary (nine points) and Russia (seven). Italy (four) will finish third but have only a very slim chance of making it to the EHF EURO 2020 - not only because they are playing their last match away in Hungary. Slovakia are out of the race with zero points, but they don’t have to qualify for EHF EURO 2022 as co-hosts of that event, with Hungary.

GROUP 8

Denmark vs Faroe Islands
Montenegro vs Ukraine

While world and Olympic champions Denmark are through with eight points before their duel with Faroe Islands (out with one point), all eyes are on the clash between Montenegro (five points) and Ukraine (six points). If the hosts win, they qualify as the second-ranked team; if they tie, Ukraine finish runners-up but Montenegro would likely be among the best four third-ranked teams with three points from the relevant matches. Only if Montenegro lose, they are out of the race.

When it comes to the promotion/relegation matches, currently Finland, Estonia (both on zero points) and either Belgium or Faroe Islands (both on 1 points and - 33 goal difference) would be the three worst fourth-ranked teams.

written by Björn Pazen / ew