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16.08.2018, 11:34
Croatia join Nordic party in the semi-finals
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DAY 5 REVIEW: Hosts step up their game at the right time to keep their hopes of gold alive, while two star performances propel Sweden to the semi-finals of the Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2018
 

Croatia join Nordic party in the semi-finals

Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2018 hosts Croatia bounced back from Tuesday’s defeat to Denmark by cruising to victory over France, booking a place in a semi-final line-up with a real Nordic flavour.

Group 1

Wednesday’s Main Round Group 1 action began with Denmark continuing their perfect run in the competition at the expense of Serbia.

Only once in five matches has a Danish player scored more than five goals, Simon Pytlick’s nine against Norway, highlighting how balanced this side’s attacking threat is. 11 players made a dent in the scoreboard as Denmark ran out 29:24 winners to top their group.

Second place was far from decided and the highly-anticipated clash between Croatia and France was a straight shootout for the other semi-final berth.

It was a nervy start for both sides as Fran Mileta’s penalty for hosts was the only goal in the opening five minutes.

Croatia soon began to find their range, however, and build an impressive 9:2 lead by the 21st minute and the situation began to look dire for France.

They managed to close the gap to 12:7 by the break, but that was as good as it got. Croatia regained control in the second half and their well-deserved 25:20 win puts them through to the semi-finals.

Group 2

With Iceland’s progression as group winners assured, Sweden and Germany were left to tussle for the remaining semi-final spot in Varazdin.

Fresh from his match-winning penalty against Spain, Valter Chrintz was in scintillating form early on as he and competition top scorer Ludvig Hallbäck did plenty of damage on the right side of the court.

Germany’s attack and defence soon clicked into place, however, and they drew level at 14:14 by half-time.

There was little to choose between the sides in the second period, but Sweden remained composed in the final 10 minutes and inspired by Chrintz’s 11 goals, grabbed a 30:27 win.

With top spot safely in hand, Iceland could afford to rest their top scorer Haukur Thrastarson as they lost 33:27 to Spain, who had lost their chance of progression the previous day.

Intermediate Round

Norway stormed to the top of Group 1 with a 36:23 over Israel, while Romania’s second place finish keeps them in contention for qualification for next year’s Under 19 World Championship – as the top 11 sides secure a place.

In Group 2, Hungary, Slovenia and Russia all finished on four points, but Russia miss out on the 9-12 placement round due to an inferior head-to-head record.

Nordic party at the business end

Following a rest day on Thursday, all eyes will be on Varazdin for the semi-finals of the Men’s 18 EHF EURO.

At 18:00 CEST is a classic Scandinavian derby between Denmark and Sweden, followed by hosts Croatia against surprise package Iceland at 20:30 CEST – both live on ehfTV.com.

Follow the Men’s 18 EHF EURO

Official website: https://m18euro2018.com/
Playing schedule: http://www.eurohandball.com/ech/18/men/2018/round/1/Final+Tournament
ehfTV: https://www.ehftv.com/int/league/men-s-18-ehf-euro-2018/787
Event Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M18EHFEURO2018/

 


TEXT: Chris O'Reilly
 
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