Latvia and Switzerland make huge steps towards EHF EURO 2020

QUALIFIERS REVIEW 1: Latvia and Switzerland each recorded victories that took them to six points, while Lithuania claimed their first win in the qualification phase

Switzerland's Roman Sidorowicz shoots over Belgium's defence.

Switzerland, Latvia and Lithuania each won their home matches on Sunday in round 4 of the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers. While the Swiss and Latvians made huge steps towards securing their tickets for the final tournament, the Lithuanians celebrated their first points in this competition.

Switzerland vs Belgium 36:22 (16:11)

Switzerland can continue dreaming of their qualifying for their fourth EHF EURO – and the first since the event they hosted in 2006.

Thanks to their third straight victory, following the 29:24 result against Serbia and the 28:25 in Belgium, Andy Schmid & Co. now only need one more point from the last two matches against Croatia and Serbia to be sure of booking the EURO ticket, provided that Croatia win their home match versus Serbia later on Sunday. 

Schmid was second top scorer for Switzerland on Sunday, with eight goals (behind Marvin Lier on nine) and now leads the overall scorer list with 33 strikes. In contrast to the close first leg against Belgium, the home match was one-sided from minute 17 on.

The visitors were equal until the score of 8:8, then Switzerland accelerated, took a five-goal advantage to the locker rooms and only needed 10 minutes after the break to create their first double-figured lead at 26:16.

Latvia vs Estonia 30:24 (17:12)

Like in the first leg on Thursday (24:18), Latvia beat their neighbours by six goals and opened the gate to the EHF EURO 2020 as they took their account to six points. Thanks to four goals in a row, the hosts pulled ahead from 8:7 to 12:7 and kept this distance until the break.

At the score of 26:17, the decision was taken. The top scorers were Egils Politers (five goals for Latvia) and the duo of Henri Sillaste and Alfred Timmo, with four goals each for the Estonians, who still wait for their first point.

Lithuania vs Romania 24:23 (12:11)

Despite a strong Romanian comeback in the final minutes, Lithuania secured their first victory in the qualifiers and took revenge for the 23:28 defeat in the first leg on Thursday. Both sides are now on two points, which means only a small chance to book a ticket for the EHF EURO in their final matches against Portugal and France in June.

The first half was fully equal, with no team forging ahead to distance bigger than two goals. In the middle of the second half, Lithuania had their strongest period and, backed by the saves of goalkeeper Giedreius Morkunas, pulled ahead to 23:19 with nine minutes left.

40 seconds before the end, Romania scored for 23:24, but time was ticking against head coach Eliodor Voica’s team. Lithuania cleverly kept the ball possession to celebrate the victory.

written by Björn Pazen / cg