20211213 DEN Gidsel Main

Exciting rookies to face experienced stalwarts at EHF EURO 2022

20221106 AH 3577 2
EHF / Adrian Costeiu

The final countdown for the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 has started, with less than a month until the first games of the tournament in Hungary and Slovakia.

The 24 teams have announced 35-player provisional lineups, giving a first glimpse of the big stars who will take part in the competition, but also the rookies which will light up the competition.

Famous rookies ready to pounce

The 15th edition of the Men’s EHF EURO will see some rookies probably helping their teams improve in Hungary and Slovakia.

Definitely, the top name is this category will be Danish right back Mathias Gidsel. The 22-year-old stalwart made his debut in the national team after the EHF EURO 2020, when Denmark failed to qualify for the main round upon their worst finish in the competition – in 13th.

An outstanding back, fast, creative, also boasting a strong shot, Gidsel has scored 116 goals in his first 25 games for the national team, while becoming the All-star right back at the IHF Men’s World Championship 2021 and the MVP of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Denmark secured the silver medal. He is expected to play a huge role for the Scandinavian team, who have set their sights on winning the EHF EURO for the first time since 2012.

After winning the Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020, France underwent several changes in their squad, but since 2020, a new name has been constantly used by coach Guillaume Gille on the left wing. Hugo Descat made his debut in the national team in 2013, scored at least 100 goals in five different seasons in the French league, but was never a constant presence in France’s team throughout the years, especially after playing in the Romanian league between 2017 and 2019 for Dinamo Bucuresti.

Now, Descat is playing at least one half in every game for Gille and will make his debut at the EHF EURO, after being named the All-star left wing at the Olympics.

Another rookie set to light up the EHF EURO is Sweden’s centre back, Felix Claar. The 24-year-old back spent seven years in the Swedish league, at Alingsås, where he was named the MVP of the competition twice, in 2019 and 2020, before joining Danish champions Aalborg Håndbold in the summer of 2020. Claar has been nothing short of superb for Aalborg in the EHF Champions League Men, where he scored 104 goals in the past season and a half, while also earning a place in the Sweden’s team which won the silver medal at the World Championship in Egypt. Claar is now a mainstay in the Swedish team and will look to help his side improve from the 10th place at the EHF EURO 2020 they co-hosted.

Portuguese line player Victor Iturriza is also ready to break his duck at the EHF EURO, after being selected for the first time in the national team after Portugal finished sixth in 2020. A candidate for the All-star line player position last season in the EHF Champions League, Iturriza, who is a dual-threat player, excellent in defence and strong in attack, is one of FC Porto’s top scorers this season in the European premium club competition with 37 goals.

Two legends still going strong

Retired Iceland’s legendary left wing, Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson is still the all-time leading top scorer at the EHF EURO, with 288 goals in 11 consecutive participations in the European flagship handball tournament. French stalwart Nikola Karabatic, who has the record for the number of games played in the competition (63), is second with 264 goals. If Karabatic, now 37 years old, will show the same grit and form he did at the Tokyo 2020, the legendary French left back could leapfrog Sigurdsson in the standings. This will be the 10th EHF EURO for Karabatic after his debut in 2004.

Close behind Sigurdsson and Karabatic is legendary Danish left back Mikkel Hansen, the three-time All-star left back of the EHF EURO, in 2012, 2014 and 2018. With nearly 1,200 goals to his name for the Danish side, Hansen has scored 213 times at the EHF EURO, enough to be on the all-time podium behind Sigurdsson and Karabatic. The Danish stalwart will surely not leapfrog any of those two this time around, but he could make a challenge in the future.

Stalwarts missing from the EHF EURO

Some players will miss the tournament, through injury or after retiring from their national teams. Alex Dujshebaev, the clutch Spanish right back who was instrumental at both the EHF EURO 2018 and 2020, will not feature in Hungary and Slovakia due to a shoulder injury. Dujshebaev still features in the 35-player squad, but has ruled himself out in an Instagram post.

Another impressive right back, Norway’s Magnus Abelvik Rød, suffered a knee injury while playing for club team SG Flensburg-Handewitt and is unlikely to feature at EHF EURO 2022. Rød, who scored 130 goals in 65 games for Norway, also struggled with injuries two years ago, playing only five of Norway’s eight games and scoring only 12 goals.

A perennial feature in France’s national team, right wing Luc Abalo, has retired from the team after the Tokyo Olympics. Abalo, fourth in the ranking of most games played at an EHF EURO with 55 games between 2006 and 2020, won the EHF EURO trophy three times.

Other notable players, like French left wing Michael Guigou, German left wing Uwe Gensheimer, and top scorer Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson have all ended their international careers since the previous edition of the EHF EURO. Also, two-time champion and Spanish centre back Raul Entrerrios, Norway’s Magnus Joendal and Bjarte Myrhol have also stepped down from international duties in 2021.


Latest news

More News