The main round begins with big matches in Debrecen

PREVIEW: Undefeated Spain and Norway will meet in their first match of the main round when the next phase of the tournament begins on Saturday

Photo: Uros Hocevar

As the EHF EURO 2014 Main Round begins in Debrecen on Saturday, Spain and Norway find themselves in the most favourable position of the teams in Group 1.

Each team bring the points earned in the group phase through to the main round, with the exception of those points earned against teams that did not qualify.

This means the situation in Group 1 is that Norway and Spain, who both recorded victories in all three of their group phase matches, come to the main round with four points each, well ahead of those that only won against the squads that are already on their way home.

Group 1 - Poland vs Denmark, Saturday 13 December, 16:00 hrs

After qualifying for the main round with a shock upset against Russia, Poland will undoubtedly be full of fresh determination when they begin their main round campaign on Saturday.

Poland come to the main round on zero points, while Denmark bring one point with them courtesy of their draw with Romania.

The difference of only one point between Denmark and Poland is not indicative of each teams' performance through the first week of the tournament.

Poland had a rocky start to their EHF EURO, losing 22:29 to Spain then 23:29 against Hungary before turning their form around.

The Polish side in the Audi Arena on Thursday night was a more resolved one than that seen earlier in the tournament.

The team will undoubtedly be feeling great after their momentous win, which puts them in an excellent position ahead of their match against Denmark.

Denmark put on a more consistent performance through the first week of the tournament, winning 32:23 against Ukraine before drawing with Romania and losing to Norway in their last match of the group phase.

The biggest question of this match will be whether Poland can continue their new-found form, and whether Denmark can find a way to counter that.

Group 1 - Spain vs Norway, Saturday 13 December, 18:15 hrs

Considering the current standing of points in Group 1, Saturday's match between the undefeated leaders of Group A and B could be one of the most exciting and crucial matches of the main round.

Both Spain and Norway topped their group, bringing four points with them to the main round, along with the confidence of three wins.

Norway's wins were more convincing than Spain's however, who won against Hungary and Russia by only one goal.

Norway won all of their matches by several goals, the least of which was by six (27:21) against Denmark. The in-form side beat Romania by eight (27:19) and Ukraine (34:23) by 11, showing their attack to be just as spectacular as ever.

Spain and Norway both like a fast game and favour counter attacks, which means an exciting match dominated by speed can be expected when they meet on Saturday.

Group 1 - Hungary vs Romania, Saturday 13 December, 20:30 hrs

After a disappointing first match in the EHF EURO for both Hungary and Romania, the teams found their way and recorded better results in their last two games of the group phase.

Hungary's nerves were clear when they faced Russia (29:29) in their first game, but the team led by new captain Zsuzsanna Tomori soon learned how to use the home crowd to their advantage, feeding off the energy in the atmospheric Audi Arena.

Hungary, who come to Debrecen with two points courtesy of their win against Poland, are now looking to be much more of a threat and have been demonstrating just how important that home support can be.

The only question for Hungary will be whether they can continue with these stronger performances when they take to the court in the new location at Fönix Hall in Debrecen.

Romania played two solid matches against Denmark (29:29) and Ukraine (23:22), showing themselves to be in good form as they move into the main round with one point.

Hungary and Romania both play a game focused around their backcourt players, with Romania's attack in particular dominated by the high-scoring Cristina Neagu, who ranks second in the top scorer list with 25 goals.

But Neagu may run into a problem against the Hungarian goalkeepers as all three, Orsolya Herr, Blanka Biro and Eva Kiss, have been playing superbly since their first match.

written by Courtney Gahan / ts


Group C: Croatia vs. Netherlands