20211005 Faroe Islands June 2021
EHF EURO

24 teams, 12 tickets: EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers throw off

EHF / Björn Pazen

The Women’s EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers throw off this week, with 24 teams battling it out for 12 places at the final tournament in November 2022.

All qualifiers will be streamed live on EHFTV, though geo-blocking might apply due to regional TV rights.

The EHF EURO 2022 in Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro will be the last European Championship with 16 teams. The field for the 2024 event in Switzerland, Austria and Hungary will be upgraded to 24 teams.

The three host nations of EHF EURO 2022 and defending champions Norway are guaranteed of their place at the final tournament, and they will compete in the first women’s edition of the EHF EURO Cup.

It leaves 12 open tickets to be booked during the qualifiers, which start this week with the first two rounds and will continue through April 2022. The top-two ranked teams in all six groups will qualify for the final tournament.

GROUP 1

Poland vs Lithuania
Wednesday 6 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Poland have won five of six previous duels with their Baltic neighbours, but the last match was in 2012
  • Poland qualified for an EHF EURO seven times so far, including for each of the last four
  • their best result was a fifth place – in 1998 – but they failed to reach the main round in 2016, 2018, and 2020
  • Lithuania reached the final tournament once – in 1996, when they finished 12th

Russia vs Switzerland
Wednesday 6 October, 18:30 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • both teams met once before – in the EHF EURO 2020 Qualifiers exactly two years ago, when Russia won in Switzerland: 35:29
  • Lyudmila Bodniyeva has her debut as Russia head coach, after replacing Alexey Alexeev
  • Russia are without several key players, including Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva, who are taking a break after Russia won Olympic silver last summer
  • Russia have won multiple silver (2006, 2018) and bronze medals (2000, 2008) at the EHF EURO, but never gold
  • Russia have played at all EHF EUROs so far, while Switzerland have not qualified yet for a European or a World Championship

GROUP 2

Romania vs Faroe Islands
Wednesday 6 October, 17:30 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Faroe Islands advanced from qualification phase 1 in June, when they beat Finland and Israel, and have not qualified for any major event yet
  • Faroe Islands came close to upsetting Romania in their only previous match two years ago, leading 12:11 at the break but ultimately losing 25:20
  • Romania have played all EHF EURO tournaments, except the 2008 edition, with winning bronze in 2010 as their best result
  • Romania are without their top star Cristina Neagu, who is taking a break from national-team duties for the rest of 2021

Denmark vs Austria
Thursday 7 October, 20:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • both teams meet for the 22nd time; Denmark won 17 of their previous 21 meetings, Austria just two
  • Austria’s last victory dates back to 2005: a 42:35 win at the World Championship in Russia
  • Denmark have been present at all EHF EUROs (since 1994) but have failed to win a medal since earning silver in 2004 in Hungary
  • Austria have not played at an EHF EURO since 2008, though they have qualified for the World Championship 2021 in Spain
  • Austria team captain Petra Blazek is expected to play her 200th international match against Denmark

GROUP 3

Netherlands vs Belarus
Wednesday 6 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Netherlands are the reigning world champions but failed to make the semi-finals at either the EHF EURO 2020 or the Tokyo Olympics last summer
  • Netherlands have won six of the seven previous matches against Belarus, including all since 2001
  • the Dutch team and head coach Emmanuel Mayonnade went separate ways after the Olympics, with Monique Tijsterman taking over as interim coach
  • Netherlands won EHF EURO silver in 2016 and bronze in 2018; Belarus have not qualified for a major event since 2008

Germany vs Greece
Thursday 7 October, 20:15 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • both sides never met before in an official match
  • Germany qualified for all previous EHF EURO tournaments; Greece’s only appearance at a major event were the 2004 Olympics – which they hosted in Athens
  • Germany won their only EHF EURO medal – silver – at their home tournament in 1994
  • Greece’s standout player, Lambrini Tsakalou, plays for German side Thüringer HC
  • Greece arrive from qualification round 1, where they beat Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Latvia

GROUP 4

France vs Czech Republic
Wednesday 6 October, 21:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • France, the freshly crowned Olympic champions, are the only team that won a medal at the last three EHF EURO events: bronze, gold, and silver
  • the only previous match between France and Czech Republic, at EHF EURO 2012, ended in a 24:22 French victory
  • Czech coach Jan Basny played in France and coached various French club teams
  • Czech Republic have qualified for seven EHF EURO final tournaments, finishing 15th both in 2018 in France and in 2020 in Denmark

Croatia vs Ukraine
Thursday 7 October, 17:30 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Croatia were the surprise package of the EHF EURO 2020, winning bronze for their maiden medal at a major championship
  • in their previous EHF EURO events, Croatia had failed to win a single match
  • their head-to-head comparison is even: four wins each; both teams wo their home game when they met in the EHF EURO 2018 Qualifiers
  • Ukraine played at all EHF EURO events between 1994 and 2014 (and won silver in 2000) – but have failed to qualify each time since

GROUP 5

Hungary vs Portugal
Wednesday 6 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • except for 2016, Hungary have ended in the top 10 of all EHF EURO events, and they became the first non-Scandinavian champions, in 2000
  • Portugal’s only previous EHF EURO qualification came in 2008, when they finished 16th after three defeats
  • Portugal won their group in qualification phase 1, beating Kosovo, Luxembourg, and Cyprus
  • their only previous duel was in 2008, when Hungary beat Portugal 25:8 at the B World Championship in Denmark

Spain vs Slovakia
Wednesday 6 October, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Spain, hosts of the World Championship later this year, reached the final of the EHF EURO twice – in 2008 and 2014, but were beaten by Norway each time
  • Spain have not been among the top eight at an EHF EURO since 2014
  • Spain won three of the four previous duels with Slovakia; the other game ended in a draw
  • Slovakia have not qualified for an EHF EURO since 2014, when they finished 12th

GROUP 6

Serbia vs Turkey
Wednesday 6 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Serbia’s biggest success at an EHF EURO came on home ground in 2012, when they finished fourth
  • both teams also met in EHF EURO qualifying 12 years ago, with Serbia getting two close wins: 32:30 at home and 28:27 away
  • Turkey have not qualified for a major event so far
  • however, Turkish women’s handball gets a boost from Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK playing in the DELO EHF Champions League group phase

Sweden vs Iceland
Thursday 7 October, 19:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Sweden are coming off an highly successful Olympic campaign, reaching the semi-finals in Tokyo
  • Sweden, who won silver in 2010 and bronze in 2014, are starting their first EHF EURO campaign without standout Isabelle Gulldén, who retired from the team in 2020
  • Iceland are seeking their third EHF EURO berth – after 2010 and 2012, when they finished 15th each time
  • both teams have met only twice before, and that is 25 years ago: in qualification for the EHF EURO 1996, when Sweden won both matches

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