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31.07.2014, 09:59
Spain, Germany, Sweden join Denmark in the semi-finals
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REVIEW: The battles for the final at the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2014 will be tough as the tournament's four proclaimed favourites reach the championship's knockout stage
 

Spain, Germany, Sweden join Denmark in the semi-finals

Some time before the first day of the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2014 in Austria, the 16 participating teams' coaches were asked which nations they considered favourites for the title.

In unison four teams were named: Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Spain.

And it looks as if the coaches should try and play the lottery more often, as exactly these four teams made the championships' semi-finals.

Denmark had already qualified on Tuesday, while on Wednesday Spain, Germany and Sweden joined the youth world champions.

Germany needed one more point from their last main round match against Slovenia and they started well into the match.

They led 14:10 at half-time and even though Slovenia fought back and levelled the game at 21:21 after 38 minutes of play, Germany proved too strong and won 28:25 in the end.

In the second game of Main Round Group 2, the German result offered a small opportunity for Austria to reach the semi-final which the team at the beginning grabbed with both hands as they led 12:11 after 22 minutes.

However, already before the end of the first half Sweden turned the match around. They went to the dressing rooms with a 16:15 lead which they didn't let slip from their hands, eventually winning the game 34:30.

"We knew we were in for a tough fight because Austria are a good team," said Sweden's Henrik Olsson. "It was a hard match until the very end and we are happy that we had this extra bit of strength to make it to the semi-final."

A draw is just enough

Things were even tighter in Main Round Group 1 in which Spain and Serbia battled it out for the second spot in the semi-final behind Denmark.

Both teams had two points each before the match but because of the better goal difference a draw was enough Spain - and that was exactly what they got.

Marked by two strong defences the game was on knife's edge for the entire 60 minutes. Serbia led 9:8 at half-time, but when the score stood at 20:20 with more than minute left to play in the second half neither Spain nor Serbia converted their respective attacks and hence Spain made it to the semi-final.

"Serbia are a very good team, and it was close game today. They defended well, which made life difficult for us in attack. We are so happy that we reached the semi-finals. Now we want to go for gold and go home with a medal," said Spain's Diego Pineiro Martin.

In the semi-finals on Friday Denmark face Sweden (17:30 hrs local time) while Germany meet Spain (20:00 hrs).

The exact same teams met two years ago at the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2012 Semi-finals when the same generation of players took to the court.

Back then Sweden beat Denmark 35:28 and Germany beat Spain 42:37.

Tournament information

The Men’s 20 EHF EURO takes place in the Austrian cities of Linz and Traun from 24 July to 3 August 2014. For more information visit the official website and the event’s Facebook page.

All matches can be watched online. This is the link to matches in Linz, matches in Traun can be watched here.

During the tournament eurohandball.com and the EHF EURO Facebook page will also feature regular reports, features and photo galleries.

Austria also hosted the Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2012 when the same generation of players took to the court. Back then Germany won, Sweden came second and Denmark placed third. Austria finished sixth.

The previous Men’s 20 EHF EURO took place in Turkey in 2012. Spain won ahead of Croatia and Slovenia. Austria had not qualified.


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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