Croatia keep France out of main round at M19 EHF EURO
Hosts Croatia qualified for the main round of the Men's 19 EHF EURO 2021 at the expense of France with a narrow 26:25 win in their preliminary round closer on Sunday.
Slovenia and Iceland from group A as well as Portugal from group D also advanced, completing the line-up for the main round, which starts Tuesday.
The quartet joins Sweden, Spain, Denmark, and Germany, who had already progressed after the second round of matches in the preliminary round.
Slovenia in group I and Croatia in group II are the only teams to start the main round with the maximum two points.
Slovenia vs Italy 31:29 (14:16)
- having beaten Serbia on day 1, Italy came close to another upset, building several three-goal leads over Slovenia in the first half
- Slovenia only turned the tide with a decisive 5:0 run between minutes 41 and 49, when they went from 20:20 to 25:20
- Mitja Janc, the younger brother of Barça star Blaz, scored 13 times to help Slovenia win the match and top the group
Iceland vs Serbia 31:30 (13:14)
- fighting for their last chance, Serbia went five goals up (10:5) in the opening quarter
- Iceland gradually gained grip on the game and earned their first lead after 33 minutes (16:15)
- Branko Predovic brought Serbia within one goal in the last minute but Iceland didn’t allow them another shot on goal
Hungary vs Israel 35:27 (17:12)
- both teams were already out of contention for a main round spot.
- Israel led by two goals after seven minutes (5:3) but would not be ahead again after Hungary had levelled the score a minute later
- Andrej Pergel with nine for Hungary and Or Rafael Levi with eight for Israel were the leading scorers
Sweden vs Spain 35:35 (14:19)
- Spain had the better start in the match for the group win, building a lead of up to seven goals in the first half
- a 6:1 run to reduce their deficit from 24:17 to just 25:23 brought Sweden back in the match, and the Scandinavians had a 4:0 run in the last 2 ½ minutes to come back from 35:31 down
- Elliot Stenmalm impressed once again for Sweden with 14 goals, raising his tally to a tournament-leading 39
Norway vs Russia 29:24 (14:12)
- already out of the title race after defeats to Denmark and Germany, Norway concluded the preliminary round on a high
- although the score was still even at 20:20 going into the last 17 minutes, Russia were not in the lead at any point this match
- Norway’s Matias Landsrød Haug and Russia’s Dmitrii Kandybin both scored nine times
Denmark vs Germany 29:29 (16:14)
- both eying the group win – and points for the main round – already qualified Denmark and Germany ended up splitting the points
- Germany were four goals up (8:4) after 10 minutes and, more importantly, were 29:26 up after 57 minutes, but could not hold on to their lead both times
- Germany’s Renars Uscins led with 10 goals
Croatia vs France 26:25 (13:13)
- the hosts earned their third straight win, holding on to their lead in a tense last 10 minutes in which both teams only scored twice
- France were leading for large parts of the game, with three goals the biggest margin, but ultimately lost and missed the main round, having also lost to Portugal earlier
- Fabijan Grubisic with nine for Croatia and Gueric Vincent with 10 for France were the most productive players
Portugal vs Austria 43:29 (23:14)
- Portugal never got in trouble against Austria, despite Bastian Pieber scoring three times for Austria in the opening stages
- the difference was already nine at half-time, and while Austria enjoyed a 4:0 run early in the second half, Portugal remained in complete control
- Gabriel Cavalcanti, younger brother of HBC Nantes player Alexandre, led for Portugal with nine goals from 10 attempts.
Widespread coverage on EHFTV and EHF social media
The M19 EHF EURO 2021 in Croatia receives widespread coverage on the various EHF channels.
The entire event is streamed live on EHFTV. Also, the Home of Handball social media channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as the reports on eurohandball.com keep fans up to date throughout the event.