20210310 Ukraine Faroeislands8

Last eight EHF EURO tickets up for grabs

EHF / Björn Pazen

17 matches — 15 of which will be played on Sunday at the same time — will decide the complete field of participants at the Men’s EHF EURO 2022. On Friday night, Faroe Islands versus Czech Republic and Montenegro versus Sweden will open the weekend of decisions, which will also include the final matches of the EHF EURO Cup, on Saturday.

In total, eight spots for the EHF EURO (four second positions and the three best third-ranked teams) are still open — and the final decisions concerning the four spots for the best third-ranked teams in particular might become real thrillers.

France vs Greece
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • France have seven points in their account; Greece have four (from their assessed matches against Belgium)
  • France were confirmed as runners-up in the group and EHF EURO 2022 participants after Greece lost against Serbia on Thursday
  • on Tuesday, France won the first leg against 40:31 — their 50th victory overall in EHF EURO qualifiers
  • Greece’s chances to finish among the four best-ranked teams are close to zero, so they will likely wait two more years for their first ever EHF EURO participation
  • since the premiere in 1994, France have qualified for every Men’s EHF EURO

Germany vs Estonia
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Germany are the confirmed group winners, and Estonia are out of the race for an EHF EURO ticket
  • Germany have the chance to take their 20th consecutive EHF EURO qualifiers victory on a run that started in April 2015
  • Estonians Mait Patrail (Rhein-Neckar Löwen, previously Lemgo and Hannover) and Dener Jaanimaa (now Moscow, previously Kiel and Melsungen) play or played for German clubs
  • Germany won the first leg against Estonia 35:23, and took a close 26:24 win in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday
  • the Baltic side lost their chance for their first ever EHF EURO qualification with the 27:31 loss against Austria on Thursday

Austria vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • both sides are on four points after an unlucky defeat for Bosnia and Herzegovina and a dominant Austrian win on Thursday
  • the Bosnians won the first leg 27:21 in March, in what was the first match of new head coach Ivica Obrvan
  • this win was the only Bosnian victory in the last six official duels with Austria (one draw and four defeats)
  • Austria need to win to finish second in the group, while a draw would be enough for the Bosnians. Bosnia and Herzegovina can hope for a spot among the four best third-ranked teams if they lose
  • the hosts, who still have to replace their top star Nikola Bilyk, have been part of four EHF EURO events. Bosnia and Herzegovina had their debut at the EHF EURO 2020

Faroe Islands vs Czech Republic
Friday 30 April, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the Czechs have five points on their account and still can finish anywhere from first to third in this group, while Faroe Islands still have no points and will rank fourth
  • Czech Republic won the first leg in March 28:20 and are again the big favourites
  • if Czech Republic win, the gate to their 11th EHF EURO participation will be wide open
  • after 34 EHF EURO qualification matches so far, Faroe Islands still wait for their first victory in qualification phase 2

Faroe Islands vs Russia
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Russia are on top of the group with eight points and have clinched their berth for the EHF EURO 2022
  • on Wednesday, Russia booked their ticket thanks to a 31:24 victory in the first leg against Faroe Islands
  • a draw is enough for the unbeaten Russians to finish on top of the group, as they have won the direct encounters against Ukraine and Czech Republic
  • the defeat in Moscow was by far the closest result overall for Faroe Islands against Russia, after they lost their first two mutual duels by differences of 19 and 16 goals

Czech Republic vs Ukraine
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • both sides could celebrate their EHF EURO participation on Sunday
  • before the Czech match in the Faroes Islands, Ukraine and Czech Republic are on five points each
  • the Czechs won the away match at Ukraine 28:26, therefore, a draw against Ukraine is enough for them to qualify regardless of the result in the Faroe Islands
  • if Ukraine win the rematch by one goal and Czech Republic have beaten Faroe Islands, the Czechs are still second ranked. In this scenario, Ukraine are more or less through to the EHF EURO 2022 as one of the four best third-ranked teams
  • the Czechs have won four of five previous official duels with Ukraine

Iceland vs Israel
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • despite their sensational 27:29 defeat in Lithuania on Thursday, Iceland are qualified for the EHF EURO 2022, as they are second with six points and cannot be passed by either Lithuania or Israel
  • since the EHF EURO 2000, Iceland were part of all final EHF EURO tournaments. Their best ranking was the bronze medal in 2010
  • on Tuesday, Iceland won the first leg of this duel 30:20 in Israel
  • the visitors are out of the EHF EURO race, with only two points in their account
  • the last Israel victory against Iceland dates to 1981

Portugal vs Lithuania
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • thanks to their all-time EHF EURO qualifiers high score of 41:29 in Israel on Thursday, Portugal have clinched their berth for their second straight EHF EURO and the seventh in total
  • Portugal have eight points in their tally — two more than Iceland, but they lost the direct encounter against the ‘Vikings’. To finish on top, Paulo Pereira’s side need at least a draw against Lithuania
  • Portugal won the first leg of this duel 34:26 in Lithuania — their second win ever in five duels (one defeat; two draws)
  • Lithuania could book their first EHF EURO ticket since 1998 in case of a victory in Portugal — perhaps even a draw will be enough to finish among the best four third-ranked teams
  • despite beating Iceland on Thursday, Lithuania cannot finish second ranked due to a decisive loss to the Nordic side in November

Slovenia vs Turkey
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Slovenia have clinched their EHF EURO berth despite the buzzer-beating 26:27 defeat in Poland on Thursday, as coach Ljubomir Vranjes’ team will finish at least second in this equal group
  • Slovenia will play their 13th EHF EURO, having missed only two final tournaments, in 1998 and 2014
  • Slovenia are on seven points, which puts them level with the Netherlands and one point ahead of Poland. The hosts will finish on top of the group if they win, or if they draw and Netherlands do not beat Poland
  • Turkey have lost all five qualifiers so far, but gave Netherlands a tough fight for 50 minutes on Thursday after being defeated 24:32 on home ground
  • on Tuesday, Slovenia won the first leg of this duel 30:22 in Turkey

Netherlands vs Poland
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the winners take it all, but even the losers can hope for an EHF EURO ticket
  • Netherlands (seven points) are one point ahead of Poland and won the first leg in Wroclaw 27:26
  • if Netherlands take at least a point, they will clinch the berth for their second straight EHF EURO
  • if Poland win, they are through to the EHF EURO, regardless of the Slovenian result. In this case, Netherlands have three points in their account in the ‘mini table’ towards the best four third-ranked teams
  • Netherlands were eliminated by Poland in the play-offs for the World Championship 2017, but won the last two duels against Patryk Rombel’s team

Norway vs Italy
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Norway have been qualified for the EHF EURO since Thursday, when they took a 36:17 win against Latvia
  • the Norwegians have eight points in their account (four victories and one defeat), while Italy have only won one match (against Latvia)
  • it is the third match for Norway this week in the Latvian city Valmiera. The ground is a good omen, as Sander Sagosen & Co. won the first two games, against the hosts
  • it will be the 10th duel between the sides and the history is clear: Norway won eight matches, including the 39:24 result in the first leg, and drew once

Belarus vs Latvia
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the situation is exactly the same as in the Norway vs Italy duel: Belarus (eight points) have qualified for the EHF EURO while Latvia (on two points) are out of the race
  • the event in 2022 will be the fifth straight EHF EURO participation for Belarus
  • Belarus were the lucky winners in Italy on Thursday, 32:31, when they booked their EHF EURO ticket
  • if the home side end up equal with Norway on points, they rank below due to the away goal rule in the direct duels
  • Latvia lost the first leg 27:39. In total, Belarus have won three of five matches and lost two

Denmark vs Finland
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Denmark almost stumbled in Switzerland on Wednesday, but finally booked the EHF EURO 2022 ticket thanks to a 30:29 victory
  • the Danes — EHF EURO champions in 2008 and 2012 — have only missed one edition, in 1998
  • the smallest margin in the four Danish wins against Finland was 10 goals. The first leg in the EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers ended with a 40:22 away victory for the world and Olympic champions
  • Denmark will finish on top of the group, even if they are equal on points with North Macedonia, as they won the direct encounter on aggregate goals

North Macedonia vs Switzerland
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the 27:22 victory in Finland on Wednesday and Denmark’s win later that night granted the Macedonians their EHF EURO 2022 participation
  • the hosts have eight points in their account. Switzerland arrive with only four points from their two victories against Finland
  • the Swiss hopes for their second straight EHF EURO and their fifth in total were shattered by the unlucky defeat against Denmark. Looking at the ‘mini table’ of the third-ranked teams, Andy Schmid & Co. have zero points
  • the Macedonians have won all official matches against Switzerland since 2012, including the 25:23 away victory in the first leg of the qualifiers
  • North Macedonia can only rank on top of the group if they finish with at least one more point than Denmark

Montenegro vs Sweden
Friday 30 April, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • besides Germany, Sweden are the only side to have won all their EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers — four from four so far
  • after their 31:23 win in Romania on Wednesday, Sweden are confirmed participants of the EHF EURO 2022, with eight points in their account
  • Sweden, the EHF EURO record champions (four trophies), have only missed one final tournament (in 2006). Montenegro have reached all final EHF EURO tournaments since 2014
  • Montenegro have four points in their account and lost the first leg in Sweden 24:27. If they beat Sweden on Friday, Montenegro are qualified for the EHF EURO
  • on Wednesday, Montenegro beat Kosovo 27:22 to hold the upper hand in the direct duel with their neighbours

Sweden vs Kosovo
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the 30:16 result in Kosovo in the first leg was the first duel between the sides
  • Kosovo sensationally took three points against Romania, but do not control their fate due to the two defeats against Montenegro
  • Sweden have the chance to finish a qualification with a clean record for the first time. Their best result previously was 11 from 12 possible points on the road to the EHF EURO 2016. They finished with 10 points three times

Montenegro vs Romania
Sunday 2 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • if Montenegro beat Sweden on Friday night, the Romanian race for second position will be over
  • Romania have three points in their account, from a draw against Kosovo and the clear 36:27 victory against Montenegro in the first leg
  • the sides can only finish on the same number of points if Montenegro draw with Sweden and Romania win on Sunday. In this case, the visitors will have clinched their first EHF EURO qualification since 1996
  • the scenario where both sides qualify for the EHF EURO 2022 is if Montenegro beat Sweden and Romania win at Montenegro — then both teams would have four points in the ‘mini table’ of third-ranked teams
  • it is the sixth mutual duel. Montenegro have won three times; Romania twice

Hungary vs Croatia
Saturday 1 May, 14:10 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • it is the ‘final’ of this competition, as both sides count eight points to lead the table in the round-robin format
  • Croatia have won all four EURO Cup matches so far. Their duel in Spain (which was scheduled for January) needed to be postponed
  • it will be Croatia’s third match of the week, after they beat Slovakia twice (32:24; 26:23)
  • Hungary took their second EURO Cup victory against defending EHF EURO champions Spain (30:28) this week
  • the only Hungarian defeat in five EHF EURO Cup matches was in Croatia, 31:27

Spain vs Slovakia
Saturday 1 May, 21:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Spain have two points from four matches; Slovakia still wait for their first point after five games
  • Spain won the first leg in Slovakia 30:18. If the Slovaks want to finish third, they need to win by 12 of more goals on Sunday night
  • Slovakia were close to their first points of the Cup on Thursday night in Croatia, where the hosts cheated the gallows with a 26:23 result
  • Spain won the EHF EURO Cup prior to the 2020 event, but will not be able to reclaim it

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