Sweden steamrolled over Switzerland in a superb opener in front of a sold-out arena in Gothenburg, proving that they could be challengers for the trophy in two weeks’ time in Stockholm.
- Kim Ekdahl du Rietz, Jerry Tollbring and Andreas Nilsson were Sweden’s best scorers, with six goals apiece
- the Swiss goalkeeper duo, Nikola Portner and Aurel Bringolf, had seven saves, as many as Sweden’s goalkeeper, Andreas Palicka, recorded in the first 14 minutes
- Palicka was awarded the Grundfos Player of the Match award for his performance
- Sweden face Slovenia in the battle between the two winning sides on Sunday, while Switzerland face Poland in a decisive game
Sweden vs Switzerland 34:21 (20:13)
There were few empty places in the 12,000-seat Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg and wherever you turned, you saw yellow.
Probably the Swiss side saw it like that too, as the feeling was that Sweden often played with more than seven players on the court.
However, it was not the atmosphere who was responsible for the Swiss’ undoing. It was rather their all-in strategy, as coach Michael Suter stayed true to his seven versus six player tactic, taking off the goalkeeper on their attacking plays.
With a superb Andreas Palicka between the goal posts – 10 saves and two goals scored in the Swiss empty net – Sweden had a 20:13 advantage at the break, built upon a 4:0 run, where the goals were shared by left wing Jerry Tollbring, who ran a team-best 4.2km, and left back Kim Ekdahl du Rietz.
The Swedish attack slowed down in the second half, as the seven-goal lead from the break looked enough.
There were turnovers and sloppy moments, but Palicka was the same, finishing the game with 18 saves for a 47 per cent save efficiency.
All in all, it was not a vintage performance for Sweden, especially in the second half, but energy saving could be key over the course of a tough tournament.
But the Swedish fans will always remember Valter Chrintz’s acrobatic goal, as the 19-year-old right wing converted an impossible play with four minutes to go.
The Swedish 34:21 win brought them two points and they will be through to the main round on Sunday, provided they win against Slovenia.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 10, 2020
Swedish left back Lukas Nilsson said the atmosphere in the arena had been "beautiful". He added that winning the next two games, against Slovenia and Poland, was essential.
"It was the start that everyone expected and I am very happy,” he said.