15/12/2014

Hungary's hopes crushed after defeat against Denmark

MATCH REVIEW: Strategic Denmark have ended Hungary's dreams of reaching the semi-final, defeating the EHF EURO 2014 co-hosts 23:20 in Main Round Group I in Debrecen
  • Photo: Uros Hocevar

Denmark kept their hopes of reaching the semi-finals in Budapest alive, winning 23:20 against Hungary in Group I's final main round match on Monday and ending any chance the co-hosts have of making it to the semi-finals themselves.

Hungary began in defence with an aggressive 3-2-1 system designed to pressure Denmark's agile backcourt players, which had some effect and kept the Danes from scoring for a few minutes.

Denmark's flat system gave Hungary far more trouble however, as the home side attempted to find gaps in the defence that simply were not there.

Five minutes into the match Denmark were leading 3:0 as Hungary head coach Andras Nemeth was forced to call a timeout.

"We didn’t work as a team this time. Eva [Kiss] saved well again, and apart from two or three goals, the defence worked well too. But there was something wrong with our attacks tonight," said Hungary's right wing Bernadett Bognar-Bodi.

"Both wings ran a lot during the match and we tried to add to the game. Still I only had one chance to shoot. And to be successful we would definitely need the goals from the sides, too."

Tomori was the only real danger to Denmark early on. As left back she scored four of her side's first five goals from outside shots.

Zita Szucsanszki could not find the accurate shooting arm seen so far in the tournament, so 18-year-old Gabriella Toth was brought in to organise the Hungarian attack.

By the twenty minute mark Nemeth had used Hungary's second timeout of the half, as Denmark held a three-goal lead at 8:5.

Goalkeeper Eva Kiss, best player for Hungary, made up for her team's defensive errors, finishing the match on a 48 per cent save rate.

Lotte Grigel, who should have started the match, was injured during warm up, which meant the Danes were down one player as it was too late for her to be replaced.

But Kristina Kristiansen proved able to handle the responsibility of directing the Danish attack herself.

Denmark wasted no time trying to put as many goals on the board as possible. From midway through the half through to the last minute, Susan Thorsgaard and in particular Kristina Kristiansen were substituted for Toft as extra attacking, while the Danish goalkeeper sat off when her team had possession.

"We have agreed that if we got ahead, and if we could see that Hungarians did not run particularly fast, we would pull the goalkeeper and put in an extra field player. We succeeded very well with that tonight," Kristiansen said.

When the first period ended Denmark were in the lead 11:9.

Hungary returned with confidence and their familiar 6-0 defence in the second half, as they chased Denmark on the scoreboard.

But the Danish attack with an extra player was too efficient and organised, with captain Line Jörgensen playing a particularly strong game and scoring six goals in total to earn her best player for Denmark.

A fast ground shot from Toth in the 40th minute took the score to 17:14, though at this point Denmark were in firm control of the match.

With ten minutes remaining Denmark were six goals up at 22:16, and it seemed Hungary's chances were all but over.

Though Hungary fought until the end, the match ended with Denmark the deserved winners.

"We knew that this would be a game, in which we would have to fight for every ball and throw ourselves after every ball, and that was exactly what we did," said Line Jörgensen.

"This was by far our best performance in the tournament so far."

Denmark need at least a draw in their last game against Spain on Wednesday to qualify for the semi-final.

written by Courtney Gahan / ts

Photos

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