20/01/2020

The 100% club, locks and charged batteries: what emojis say at the midpoint of the main round

WHAT EMOJIS SAY: There are only 17 games left to be played at the EHF EURO 2020 and we take a look at the tournament so far with the help of emojis

Croatia are one of the three teams with a perfect record at the EHF EURO 2020. Photo © Jozo Cabraja / kolektiff

This time, as the tournament enters the business end, we take a look at which players are having their batteries drained, focus on the best defences so far, and applaud the fans at the EHF EURO 2020.

The atmosphere in Vienna and Malmö for the main round has been fantastic, with fans flocking to both arenas to support their teams.

In Vienna, the biggest crowd was for the match between Croatia and Germany with a capacity crowd of well over 9,000 cheering every second of the action. In Malmö more than 10,000 fans have supported Sweden and thousands have seen the other matches too.

Some tickets are still available for the final weekend in Stockholm, which will feature the first ever EHF EURO hosted in a football stadium, the Tele2 Arena in the Swedish capital.

 

Croatia’s success is largely down to a superb defence, despite missing key cogs and having several new faces in the team. Up until this point, Croatia have conceded only 112 goals, or an average of 22.4 goals per game. Goalkeeper Marin Sego was also in fine form, saving 39 of 131 shots, for a save efficiency of 31 per cent.

Slovenia (123 conceded goals), Spain (124) and Norway (129) are the next best defences. More of the same could see them join Croatia in Stockholm.

 

With five rounds already gone in the EHF EURO, there are still three teams with a flawless record. Croatia have secured their semi-final place, and both Spain and Norway can join them provided they win their next games and other results go their way.

The EHF EURO was won only twice with a flawless record – seven wins out of seven games for Sweden in both 1994 and 2000. However, the 2020 competition schedule means the winner must win not seven, but nine games, to clinch the gold medal with a 100 per cent record.

 

Many teams insist that depth is crucial over the course of a difficult tournament like the EHF EURO and rest players where possible. Slovenia have alternated playmakers between games, and Norway and Croatia have benched stars such as Sander Sagosen or Domagoj Duvnjak when their teams were cruising to a win.

However, some players cannot be rested, such as Norwegian right wing Kristian Björnsen. The 31-year old player has been used in 278 of the 300 minutes that Norway played at the EHF EURO up until this point, or in 92.6 per cent of the time.

Other players to have spent more than 250 minutes on court include Norwegian left wing Magnus Joendal (257 minutes), Swedish wings Jerry Tollbring (266 minutes) and Daniel Pettersson (263 minutes), and 38-year old Icelandic back Alexander Petersson (251 minutes).

written by Adrian Costeiu / jh