France reached the semi-finals by the resurrection against Denmark
Although Denmark had the control during almost the whole game against France, the Olympic champions took over at the very last minute. With this results, even though Iceland gathered two points against Montenegro earlier today, Gudmundur Gudmundsson’s team will face Norway for the 5th place. The French team meets Sweden, while the Danes will fight the Spaniards for the final at EHF EURO 2022.
Iceland won the match, but Montenegro won the hearts of handball lovers
…and then the player of today’s first game was called after the final whistle: ‘player number 14…(pause)...from Montenegro, Milos Vujovic!’
So, the European Handball Federation chose from the losing side, not by accident: Vujovic, who spent six seasons in Tatabánya, Hungary, played exceptionally.
Iceland easily took two points (34:24) from the outperforming Montenegrin side and the left wing lived with every chance to score: he netted both from an in-flight situation just like after a somersault. Moreover, his goals (11) mostly came after the half-time, not to forget that he only missed two.
The islanders were a little surprised after the above mentioned pause as their number 14, Omar Ingi Magnusson also scored 11-times this afternoon, what a coincidence.
However, the jury may have appreciated the effort shown by Vujovic and the whole Montenegrin squad. The players have expressed their feelings and thoughts multiple times about how they enjoy their time in Budapest, and this is exactly what happened today. Let's raise our hats!
Not only Milos Vujovic used to play in Hungary, but Marko Lasica too:
‘It was a kind of special tournament for me, as I used to play in Szeged, Hungary before. That was the greatest time of my career from which I have very nice memories. Pick Szeged is the best club in Hungary for me. The arena was a bit silent today, compared to our previous matches, as we have not had the chance to reach the semi-finals so there were fewer Montenegrin spectators on the stands. It was our last game in the Championship, now I return to my club and I will try to win some matches there.’
‘Iceland is on the right path to be among the best teams of the world again.’ said their head coach, Gudmundur Gudmundsson before the bout.
If the team continuously performs and evolves, nobody will question him. They had to win on Wednesday in order to advance and reach the semi-finals, even though they have to wait ‘till the final whistle of tonight’s game between France and Denmark. If the Olympic champions win, Iceland will play for the 5th place.
‘I would also like to highlight the superpower that our fans brought to the arena. It is amazing that they are here and support us, so much love for them.’ highlighted Bjarki Mar Elisson who just returned after the COVID rest.
Croatia-Netherlands: peaceful, spectacular draw, round of applause
The media representatives usually get the start lists before the game kicks-off and at the EURO names were crossed out multiple times. The clash between Croatia and Netherlands without any stakes also led to such a paper. For example, the long-leading Dutch back, Kay Smits was also missing, the leader with today’s 11-goals performance is Ómar Ingi Magnusson from Iceland with 49 goals.
By the way, the Dutch staff as well as the Croatian were decreased by our age pandemic.
The two sides had similarities in not only that, but in the performance on the court. During the whole game, the squads were head-to-head, the lead changed several times and the spectators got a perfect warmup before tonight’s derby.
The final is 28 to 28, a huge round of applause to both team and the player of the game the Croatian Ivan Martinovic after having netted 12-times.
‘The whole match, just like this EURO a little bit, was like a roller coaster’ - says Luc Steins, centre back of Netherlands. We did not start well, but then we took over. After a while, Croatia came back and got the lead. In the end, nothing was decided and finally we had a tie with them. We have to be satisfied, because we made it to the Main Round and we were able to beat Hungary in front of their own crowd in our first clash. We are happy to have performed well and our results speak for themselves. However, we always want more. We have had the opportunity to do better, but I think we can be proud of what we have achieved.’
Pivot of Croatia, Marin Sipic summarized the game:
‘Mentally it was tough to prepare for a game like this as there were no stakes at all. We wanted to end this tournament with a win but we made mistakes in both defence and offence so we were not able to build up a bigger lead, and despite us scoring in the final seconds we also conceded one so the result is a draw. All in all, this EHF EURO was really hard for every team because key players were missing each day. I hope we can come back stronger for the next event.’
France returned from the grave
The spectators of Budapest Arena realized during the introduction of the sides that the two best players of the Danes were missing as both Mikkel Hansen and Mathias Gidels sat out this bout. Theoretically, this would have led to an easy win, however Rasmus Lauge Schmidt, player of Veszprém stated, everybody in the squad is on the highest level and ready against anybody.
This reflected on the court as the world champions started with a 3-0 run, moreover, Nikola Karabatic netted first time only in the 25th minute. Just a few seconds before that moment when Denmark led by four, the Scandinavian fans stood up and showed their appreciation by a two-minute rhythmic applause. They led by five after the first half, their best was Jakob Holm with six.
In the middle of the second half, Niklas Landin was in the focus by the crowd, the Danish goalkeeper saved incredible, and it looked very much like the French could not be renewed.
However, they still managed with a little luck and an improved defense. In the 54th minute, the French came back to 27-26 with the 6th goal of Dika Mem, then Vincent Gerard saved a big one, and in the next act Hugo Descat equalized at 28-28 a week, three and a half minutes before the end.
Moreover, by Dika Mem’s goal France took the lead for the first time in the 59th minute! They could keep that one-goal advantage, and even a tie would have been enough for them to advance to the semi-finals.
The victory, on the other hand, means that the French unit has become the group leader, so they will face Sweden in the semi-finals, while Denmark can clash with Spain on Friday in the Budapest handball arena.