EHF EURO 2020 teams step up preparations
With only two months to go until the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 throws off in Denmark (Herning and Frederikshavn) and Norway (Trondheim), most of the 16 participants use the current national team week for test matches. For most teams, these are the first matches in the year 2020.
The most notable event is staged in the Danish Midtjylland region around Horsens, Randers and Viborg, where another edition of the Golden League started Thursday.
Norway beat fellow EHF EURO 2020 host Denmark
The event brings together four of the five nations that won the EHF EURO title in the past: record seven-time winners Norway, three-time champions Denmark, current title holders France, and 2012 winners Montenegro.
On Thursday the two EHF EURO hosts clashed, with Norway taking a clear 28:21 win following a magnificent start and a 15:5 lead. Under new coach Jesper Jensen, goalkeeper Althea Reinhardt was the best player of Golden League hosts Denmark.
The other match on the opening day was even more one-sided, as France defeated Montenegro 29:13 following a 15:6 half-time lead in Horsens.
On Saturday, the Golden League resumes with France vs Norway and Denmark vs Montenegro; on Sunday it is Denmark vs France and Norway vs Montenegro.
Netherlands defeated in first match as world champions
Elsewhere, EHF EURO 2018 bronze medallists Netherlands, without injured Estavana Polman and Delaila Amega, are returning to the court for the first time since winning the world title in Japan in December. They are playing neighbours Germany twice.
Germany, led by former Netherlands coach Henk Groener, won the first match 27:25 in Lingen on Thursday; the second match is set for Saturday in the same arena.
Two other EHF EURO participants follow a similar pattern: Sweden and Poland play each twice these days.
Sweden beat Poland with Jessica Ryde starring
On Thursday, the Scandinavian side of head coach Tomas Axner won 21:19 in Lund, thanks to an extraordinary match of goalkeeper Jessica Ryde. Poland were 15:13 ahead in minute 45, before the hosts turned the tide.
On Saturday, both sides will duel again, in Ystad.
Several other EHF EURO 2020 participants, including 2018 silver medallists Russia, World Championship runners-up Spain, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia have also gathered for training camps, but they cannot play matches because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Photo Luisa Schulze © 2018 Anze Malovrh / kolektiff