Main round starts without titleholders Slovenia

20221106 AH 3577 2 EHF / Adrian Costeiu

After four days full of exciting games and surprises in the preliminary round of the Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2022, hosted by Portugal in two different venues, eight teams are still in the race for title. Notable absentee in the main round are the previous winners of the event, 2018 champions Slovenia

Four teams – Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, and Serbia – have advanced to the M20 EHF EURO 2022 main round with the maximum amount of points, as two crunch games expect the eight qualified sides in the next phase of the competition.

Spain, France, Hungary, and Germany are the four other teams in the main round.

  • two sides – Portugal and Sweden – progressed to the main round with three wins; the other two group winners, Denmark and Serbia, dropped at least one point on the way, but did so against opponents that failed to qualify for the main round
  • the biggest surprise was Denmark’s loss in the first day against the Faroe Islands, 32:33, but the Scandinavian powerhouse secured two wins against Hungary and Slovenia to win Group B
  • the next generation of 2018 champions Slovenia lost against Hungary and Denmark, and became the first ‘defending champions’ to miss out in the main round in the next edition since Denmark in 2012
  • Sweden progressed to the main round of the Men’s 20 EHF EURO for the first time since 2014, when they secured the silver medal
  • Portugal’s talented right back Francisco Mota da Costa is the tournament’s top scorer with 32 goals, followed by Denmark’s centre back Thomas Sommer Arnoldsen (28) and Francisco’s brother Martim Mota da Costa (24)
  • the Faroe Islands and Italy, who made their debut in the competition, secured their first wins at the M20 EHF EURO: Faroe clinched a surprise 33:32 win against Denmark; Italy edged Iceland 27:26
  • two teams – Montenegro and Norway – failed to win a single point in the preliminary round and will try to save their tournament in the intermediate round
  • Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and Hungary will feature in Group M1 of the main round, while Sweden, France, Germany and Serbia are in Group M2, with the games scheduled on 12 and 13 July

Portugal mean business

With 24 games played at the M20 EHF EURO 2022 in Portugal, things are looking good for the hosts, who have been the surprise package of the competition with a three-game winning streak, exactly like they managed four years ago, in Slovenia.

Led by a potential superstar in the making, Francisco Mota da Costa, and his brother Martin, who combined have scored 56 of Portugal’s 112 goals in the preliminary round.

Their last-gasp win against Spain (36:35) on Sunday night, with Francisco Mota da Costa scoring the last goal with five seconds to go, could prove crucial in Portugal achieving their objective on home court, as they start the main round with two points, facing Denmark and Hungary next.

Sweden were also one of the pleasant surprises, as were Denmark, who bounced back admirably after a tough last-gasp loss against the Faroe Islands. However, teams like Slovenia, Croatia, or Iceland, who had good results in the past editions, are now heading to the intermediate round, trying to salvage something from this tournament, eyeing one of the top 12 places, which will send them to the 2023 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship.

Five of the eight teams that made the main round in 2018 made the cut this time around, as the clashes scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday will deliver the four teams for the semi-finals on Friday 15 July.

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