17/01/2020

Party continues in Malmö as main round begins

GROUP II PREVIEW: Hosts Sweden will be counting on the support of thousands of home fans as main round group II gets underway on Friday

Sweden have reached the main round but must still win to stay in the competition. © Nebojsa Tejic / kolektiff

Main round group II throws off in Malmö on Friday with a slew of tantalising games, with all of the six qualified teams in with a chance of making the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 final weekend.

With Denmark and France out after the preliminary round, Malmö hosts a nip-and-tuck Group II, as any team can progress to the final weekend in Stockholm.

Hosts Sweden are already in a must-win situation after losing against Slovenia in the preliminary round, but will have thousands of home fans behind them when they throw off against Portugal.

Hungary and Norway, two of the three teams with a two-point tally from the preliminary round, face off in what promises to be an intriguing clash. Meanwhile, Iceland hope to avenge their painful loss against Hungary, but Slovenia are one of the in-form sides, with a superb defence and a laid-back mentality instilled by Swedish coach Ljubomir Vranjes.

GROUP II

Slovenia vs Iceland
Friday, 17 January, 16:00 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • Slovenia are one of the three teams who start with a two-point tally in the main round, while Iceland are last in the group, with zero points and a -6 goal difference
  • Slovenia can clinch their best-ever winning run in the competition against Iceland, topping their streak in 2006 when they started the competition with three wins only to bow out after losing all main round games
  • goalkeeper Klemen Ferlin has been outstanding for Slovenia, placing fourth in the top goalkeepers’ rankings, with 36 per cent save efficiency
  • Slovenia scored 76 times in the preliminary round but conceded just 67; Iceland netted 83 goals and conceded 77
  • the two teams have met four times in the EHF EURO, with Slovenia taking three wins and Iceland one

Norway vs Hungary
Friday, 17 January, 18:15 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • Norway and Hungary lead the group, both with two points and +6 goal difference
  • if he scores nine times, centre back Sander Sagosen will become the top Norwegian goal scorer at the EHF EURO. He is currently fourth, with 90 goals, behind Havard Tvedten (98), Kristian Kjelling (94) and Bjarte Myrhøl (91)
  • Hungary have never progressed to the final weekend in 11 tournaments, while Norway lost the bronze medal game in 2016 against Croatia
  • this will be the first EHF EURO 2020 game played by Norway away from home, as they played the preliminary round in Trondheim
  • the only mutual meeting between the two at the EHF EURO was in 2014, when the two sides drew, 26:26, in the preliminary round

Portugal vs Sweden

Friday, 17 January, 20:30 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • both teams start the main round in Malmö with zero points; Sweden (-2) have a better goal difference than Portugal (-6)
  • the injuries have been mounting for Sweden: right back Albin Lagregren has traveled with the squad to Malmö, but will not play, while line player Jesper Nielsen suffered a knee injury and is still doubtful for Friday
  • Sweden have the best goalkeeping pair at the EHF EURO 2020, with Andreas Palicka and Mikael Appelgren boasting a 40 per cent save efficiency
  • Sweden conceded the third lowest number of goals (68) in the preliminary round, trailing only Croatia (65), Slovenia and Hungary (both 67)
  • the two sides have met three times in the EHF EURO, with Sweden taking all three wins - 26:21 in 1994, 29:21 in 2000 and 27:22 in 2002
written by Adrian Costeiu / jh