After having their main round dream end thanks to Hungary’s victory over Iceland in the earlier match for group E on Wednesday night, Denmark earned their first win at the EHF EURO 2020 as they defeated Russia 31:28 in the last preliminary match.
It was a close game between the sides, with Russia holding a three-goal advantage at the break before Denmark fought back to decide the outcome in the last 11 minutes.
- world and Olympic champions take their first win at the EURO with the 31:28 result against Russia, whose campaign ends with three straight defeats
- Denmark bow out as the first global title holders to rank outside the top 11 at the following EHF EURO and record their lowest final ranking in the history of the championship
- Denmark’s Mikkel Hansen top scores with seven goals, while captain Niklas Landin tallies 11 saves
- Russia’s Sergei Kosorotov earns the Grundfos Player of the Match award thanks to his three goals and three assists in just over 30 minutes on court
Russia vs Denmark 28:31 (15:12)
It was a tough situation for both sides to begin what was their final EHF EURO 2020 match. With Hungary’s win in the earlier clash on Wednesday night, Denmark’s chances of progressing to the main round ended, while Russia were already eliminated in round two.
However, both teams showed motivation to finish their campaigns with a victory – and for Denmark, there was perhaps the extra hope of giving the thousands of Danish fans who had made the trip across Øresund something to cheer about.
As he has done so often in the past, Denmark captain Niklas Landin inspired his team with great saves in the opening and in the final stages. Although Denmark scored the first goals before their opponents answered, Landin’s performance was matched by Viktor Kireev in Russia’s goal, and it was a great contest between the posts early on.
It was also a good early battle between the right wings, with Hans Lindberg and Daniil Shishkarev scoring three apiece in the first 15 minutes, when the score stood level at 15:15. With Kireev in slightly better form, Russia were able to build a three-goal lead in the last 10 minutes before the break.
While Russia were certainly disappointed to arrive at their last preliminary round match with no wins behind them, for Denmark, the EHF EURO was something more of a nightmare. With no chance to proceed to the main round, Denmark were already sure to finish with their lowest final ranking in history at the EURO – their previous record was 12th, in 1996 and 2000.
It was clear Denmark still struggled with the disappointing campaign, but they managed to lift in the second period, levelling the score with a 122km/h shot from Michael Damgaard, 15:15 in the 34th, then reclaiming the upper hand.
Russia stayed close until inside the last 11 minutes, when goals from Johan Hansen and Mikkel Hansen created a two-goal edge, 25:23. From there, Denmark held on to collect the victory.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 15, 2020