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04.08.2016, 08:42
Spain, France, Germany, Croatia reach semis at Denmark 2016
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REVIEW: A thrilling main round came to an end at the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2016 on Wednesday
 

Spain, France, Germany, Croatia reach semis at Denmark 2016

On Wednesday morning there were still seven teams at the Men's 20 EHF EURO in Denmark left with a chance to qualify for the competition's semi-finals. About 12 hours later the decision had been made: Spain, France, Germany and Croatia are the lucky four.

Iceland, Norway and Denmark as well as Poland - but for them it was known before - will only play for places 5 to 8.

In the semi-finals on Friday, Spain face Croatia at 18:00 hrs local time; Germany and France meet at 20:30 hrs. Live streams for all matches are accessible via http://livestream.com/m20euro.

France and Iceland in Group M1 were the first to leave the starting blocks. While France, the winners of the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2014 and the Youth World Championship 2015, were under pressure after they had lost their first main round match 27:21 against Spain on Tuesday, Iceland, bronze medallists at the Youth World Championship 2015, were previously undefeated and only needed a draw to advance.

However, France quickly showed why are they are one of the red hot medal favourites. The first half was an even affair with the score at 20:18 for France after 30 mins, however in the second period France rose to another level, and Melvyn Richardson, the son of Jackson Richardson, Aymeric Minne and Etienne Mocquais - all three scored six goals each - led their team to a 38:31 win.

This made all calculations easy for Spain who needed just a draw against Poland to reach the semis. They solved the task in convincing fashion, winning 23:14 (10:8).

Next up were the decisions in Group M2, with Norway and Germany first entering the court. With all four teams in this group on two points, it was clear that the respective match winners would reach the semi-final.

Germany showed a clear will to do so and dominated already in the first half. After they had led 18:14 after 30 minutes, they eventually cruised to an unthreatened 30:23 win.

Then the Sydbank Arena in Kolding started to fill up, with 1,200 fans eager to watch hosts Denmark taking on Croatia. Goals were scored evenly on both ends of the court, with the score at 13:13 after 30 minutes of play.

In the second half, Denmark came out storming and after 40 minutes they led 23:17 - however, Croatia were far from being overly impressed.

In the next 16 minutes they scored 13 times, while Denmark netted only twice, to turn a six goal deficit into a five goal lead at 30:25 - and they held on to it until the final whistle.

Switzerland and Hungary top groups at intermediate round

The intermediate round also came to an end on Wednesday.

Switzerland won Group I1 with two wins and one draw , Hungary topped I2 with three wins. Together with the second ranked teams of Slovenia and Netherlands they will play for places 9 to 12.

The third and fourth ranked teams from the intermediate round, Serbia, Russia, Sweden, FYR Macedonia, will play for places 13 to 16.


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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