22/01/2020

Portugal win takes Slovenia to semi-finals

GROUP II REVIEW: Portugal earned a place in the play-off for fifth with a win over Hungary, and booked Slovenia the last ticket to the EHF EURO 2020 semi-finals with the 34:26 result

Antonio Areia was player of the match for Portugal as they beat Hungary. Photo © Anze Malovrh / kolektiff

Two teams celebrated a 34:26 win for Portugal on the last main round day at the EHF EURO 2020, as Portugal’s result against Hungary meant Slovenia were confirmed as second in group II – and therefore joined Norway as the semi-finalists from this group.

Portugal were in the lead from the 10-minute mark on, and had clear control until the final buzzer.

  • Portugal secure a place in the play-off for fifth place, and are assured of their best final ranking in the history of the EHF EURO
  • Portugal will also take part in the Olympic Qualification Tournaments
  • Portugal’s victory means Slovenia are through to the semi-finals for the second time, after their home EURO in 2004
  • the Grundfos Player of the Match award goes to Portugal’s Antonia Areia, with five goals from five attempts and one assist

GROUP II

Portugal vs Hungary 34:26 (16:14)

Portugal and Hungary had a lot to play for, with both able to secure their highest ranking ever at the EHF EURO with a win. Hungary also had the chance to potentially book a semi-final berth with a victory, depending on the result of the later clash between Norway and Slovenia, but Portugal ultimately had more power and took their second win in the main round.  

Although Portugal held a two-goal lead at half-time, nothing was decided until the last 15 minutes, as Hungary were always within reach before that point. When line player Alexis Borges took Portugal in front 26:20 with just over 12 minutes on the clock, the matter seemed decided. And as that six-goal distance remained in the 55th minute, Portugal were on clearly on their way to the play-off for fifth.

Hungary did not come back from the break as strong as they have in other matches at the EURO, when they turned around deficits to surprise opponents such as Iceland, Denmark and Slovenia.

Nevertheless, the EHF EURO 2020 has been a strong campaign for Hungary, who are the youngest team at the event and entered with little expectations except the goal of being competitive. That they certainly were, and depending on the result of the match between Sweden and Iceland to close group II, as well as the last matches in Vienna, Hungary may draw level with their second-best result at the EURO – seventh in 1994.

Both teams’ goalkeepers rank among the best at the EHF EURO 2020, with Hungary’s Roland Mikler tallying a total of 56 saves before the last main round day, while Portugal’s Alfredo Quintana had made the most stops of the competition alongside Slovenia’s Klemen Ferlin – 65. It was therefore little surprise that the two stood out in this clash, particularly early on.

In 20 minutes, Mikler made five saves while Quintana stopped four, including a penalty. However, Mikler’s save rate was lower as he faced more shots – highlighting Portugal’s greater attacking strength, which led them to take the lead after the 10-minute mark.

After they pulled in front, Portugal had a steady one to two-goal lead through the rest of the half, aside from one point when Bendeguz Boka equalised for Hungary with an 118km/h shot, 10:10.

Hungary certainly hoped to return stronger after the break, but they could never level the game. Portugal had little trouble controlling the game in the second 30 minutes, and they completely dominated the final quarter to finish with a commanding win.

Right back Belone Moreira said the result was not a surprise for the team.

"We have a lot of quality. We believe a lot in ourselves. We were disappointed yesterday to lose, and to miss the semi-finals, but we have a lot of quality and we have to show some results to other people to see that we believe in ourselves and we have a lot of quality," Moreira said.

 

 

 

 

written by Courtney Gahan / jh