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25.07.2018, 11:20
Portugal continue dominance in Slovenia, reach semi-finals
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DAY 4 REVIEW: The first day of the Men’s 20 EHF EURO main round in Slovenia saw Germany, Portugal and France look strong but hosts beaten, plus the start of the intermediate round
 

Portugal continue dominance in Slovenia, reach semi-finals

The main round of the Men's 20 EHF EURO in Slovenia is underway, and with teams carrying through points from their preliminary round matches against their fellow main round competitors, all is to play for in Celje.

Wins for Germany, France and Portugal mean Germany lead group 1, on three points, while Portugal are clear in group 2 on four points - and guaranteed a semi-final spot, ahead of France. Sweden and Denmark lead their respective intermediate groups.

Today (25 July) is the final day of main round and intermediate round matches in Slovenia, before the 5-16 cross matches and semi-finals get underway on Friday (27 July) after a rest day tomorrow.

Main Round – Group 1
Iceland and Serbia battled out a 25:25 draw in the opening match of group 1 as the Serbs let slip a three-goal half-time lead (12:9). Djordje Pisaric scored eight goals in a best player of the match performance for Serbia, but they fell short right at the death after Iceland took a time out with 15 seconds remaining to ensure they gathered a valuable point.

Hosts Slovenia were stunned in the second match with over 2,000 fans in the Dvorana Zlatorog speechless at the final buzzer. The host nation had led comfortably by two at the break (11:9), especially as Germany lost Frederik Simak in the 27th minute to a direct disqualification.

However, the Germans came back strong in the second period to outscore their opponents 17:11 and take the win.

Main Round – Group 2
Like the European heatwave currently out in force across the continent, France are heating up too, as they led Croatia by four at the break (18:14) and extended the difference to nine goals at the final buzzer, to win 37:28. Like his team, Kyllian Villeminot took time to find his hot hand too in Slovenia, but his seven goals in this clash steered his side through in the end.

The Iberian derby between Spain and Portugal, saw the Portuguese again confirm themselves as one of the big favourites for the Men’s 20 EHF EURO title, leading 13:9 at the break and by two in the ned (29:27). Diogo Silva again outscored everybody, with eight goals, as teams have been unable to stop the prolific player. This result means that whatever happens in their game today, Portugal, on four points, are through to the semi-finals, and creating excitment back home.

Intermediate Round – Group 1
An eight-goal half-time lead for Norway at the break against Romania (16:8) nearly evaporated by the final whistle, but a best player performance from goalkeeper Robin Haug Paulsen kept the Romanians just out of touch enough to ensure a 29:25 win.

Sweden beat Israel 29:22 (14:9) as Gzim Salhili scored five goals to earn a best player of the match performance for the Swedes.

Intermediate Round – Group 2
The two big handball powerhouses of Russia and Hungary found themselves in the intermediate round, and even more surprising was the 17:17 half-time deadlock as the two normally tight defences let in a combined 34 goals in the first 30 minutes.

The goalscoring continued into the second half with a total of 71 goals scored in the end as Hungary took a three-goal victory (37:34) thanks to a best player performance from Hungary’s Uros Borzas, who scored nine times. Denmark easily beat Poland 31:23 in the other match.

Hot hands
Diogo Silva and Grega Ocvirk continue to battle it out for the top scorer award in Celje, with Portugal’s Silva on 36 goals and Slovenia’s Ocvirk on 35 goals.

RESULTS – DAY FOUR
Monday 24 July

Main Round – Group 1
Iceland vs Serbia 25:25 (9:12)
Germany vs Slovenia 26:22 (9:11)

Main Round – Group 2
Croatia vs France 28:37 (14:18)
Spain vs Portugal 27:29 (9:13)

Intermediate Round – Group 1
Romania vs Norway 25:29 (8:16)
Sweden vs Israel 29:22 (14:9)

Intermediate Round – Group 2
Russia vs Hungary 34:37 (17:17)
Poland vs Denmark 23:31 (11:15)

Path to the Men’s 21 World Championship 2019 explained

With the main round and the intermediate round commencing, the battle for the European spots at the Men’s 21 World Championship 2019 in Spain has also begun.

Besides Spain as organiser of the Men’s 21 World Championship, ten more teams from the Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2018 in Slovenia will directly qualify for the 24-nation event. This means that all teams who have reached the main round (Germany, Slovenia, Iceland, Serbia, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and France) are already qualified.

Additionally, the teams ranked 9 to 11 will also qualify directly, granting additional importance to the cross and placement matches which will be played on 27 and 28 July.

Follow the Men's 20 EHF EURO
Official website: https://www.m20ehfeuro.com/en/
Playing schedule: http://eurohandball.com/ech/00-01/20/men/2018/round/1/Final+Tournament
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mens20EHFEUROSlovenia/
ehfTV: https://www.ehftv.com/int/league/men-s-20-ehf-euro-2018/785

Photos: Slavko Kolar/Jurij Kodrun


TEXT: EHF
 
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