16/12/2014

Denmark and Spain fight for Budapest

PREVIEW: When the final EHF EURO 2014 Main Round matches take place in Debrecen on Wednesday, all eyes will be on Denmark and Spain as they fight for Group I's remaining semi-final spot
  • Photo: Uros Hocevar

The last three main round matches for Group 1 will take place on Wednesday, with one semi-final spot still up for grabs and the group's representative in the match for fifth place to be decided.

Spain and Denmark are the only teams that still have a possibility to book a semi-final ticket to Budapest, which means their meeting is sure to be one of the most intense and exciting of the evening.

Romania and Hungary both still have the opportunity to go to Budapest for the 5/6 placement match.

Group 1 - Poland vs Romania, Wednesday 17 December, 16:00 hrs

Despite the fact that Poland can go no further in the EHF EURO, the team will be playing to win.

The overall ranking at the end of the tournament will determine which pot teams are placed in for the World Championship Play-off draw on 21 December.

Poland do not want to end their EHF EURO campaign on zero points as this will put them in danger of being placed in pot two for the draw.

Romania meanwhile will be determined to record a win as they could still qualify for the fifth position placement match.

Both teams have had a somewhat inconsistent tournament, so the victory could belong to either and will depend greatly on which side is at their best.

If Poland and Romania are both in top form, a thrilling match can be expected.

Poland played a great game on Monday against Norway, with the return of Kinga Byzdra from injury contributing much to their dangerous backcourt attack.

But Romania are a tall, quick side in defence backed by the outstanding Paula Claudia Ungureanu in goal.

The effectiveness of Romania's attack, which tends to go between patches of messiness and periods of brilliance, could be the deciding factor.

Group 1 - Spain vs Denmark, Wednesday 17 December, 18:15 hrs

Wednesday's meeting between Spain and Denmark will see both teams under pressure as they battle for the remaining Group 1 spot in the semi-final.

Denmark are in a better position than Spain and need only a draw to confirm themselves as second in the group, while Spain require a win to move up to second on the table.

Denmark entered the main round on just one point, compared to Spain's four courtesy of no defeats in the preliminary round.

Spain's have suffered two defeats in their main round matches against Norway and Romania, ending their unbeaten run and keeping their tally the same as it was at the end of the preliminary round.

Denmark will undoubtedly be fresh with confidence following their two wins; particularly their tactical victory against Hungary, where the Scandinavian side ended the EHF EURO co-hosts semi-final hopes.

Spain are likely to have less trouble against the mobile backs and strong flat defence than Hungary did, though for a side that favours breakthroughs, finding a way through the Danish defence may prove difficult.

Spain earned the nickname 'Guerreras' - warriors in English - for a reason however, so Denmark should be prepared for a strong fight from the determined, fast side.

Group 1 - Hungary vs Norway, Wednesday 17 December, 20:30 hrs

Following their defeat against Denmark on Monday, Hungary will be looking for a win that will end their main round campaign strong and possibly secure them a spot in the 5/6 placement match in Budapest on Friday.

Prior to their meeting with Denmark, captain Zsuzsanna Tomori said her team does not play their best against the Scandinavian style.

The match against Denmark confirmed this, and now with a second Scandinavian opponent to face, who defeated Denmark by six goals (27:21) only last week, the odds do not favour the home side.

Norway are undeniably one of the strongest sides in the competition, winning all their matches and booking their semi-final spot in their second main round game.

The question will be whether Norway will rest their key players ahead of the final weekend, though theirs is a deep squad so even their weaker players present a dangerous line-up.

Hungary of course retain the home crowd advantage, which they have learned to use, and will be determined to put on what could possibly be one last great show for the fans in Debrecen that have helped them so much throughout the tournament.

written by Courtney Gahan / ts

Photos

EHF EURO 2014 Media Day