Norway show their intentions, Vyakhireva out with injury
The final week of preparations for the 16 teams has started as the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 throws off next Thursday.
There was on-court action as Norway won the first of two test matches against Denmark, and off-court news as Russian standout Anna Vyakhireva, the MVP of the EHF EURO 2018, announced she will not be able to play in Denmark due to a back injury.
Here is a news update with the start if the EHF EURO 2020 just seven days away.
Russia: Big blow for the 2018 runners-up
Already reeling from two big blows to their back line, as left backs Anna Sen and Elena Mikhaylichenko suffering serious injuries in the first week of November, Russia have to deal with more bad news.
The MVP of the EHF EURO 2018 and the Olympic Games 2016, Anna Vyakhireva, will miss the tournament due to back pains. The right back was in serious pain after her club, Rostov-Don, had defeated CSM Bucuresti 27:22 in the DELO EHF Champions League last Thursday.
“Just want to thank everyone for kind words. Sometimes nothing depends on you. This is sport and things happen. I wish good luck for our team on the Euro. Even in front of TV, I am with you!” Vyakhireva wrote on her Instagram page.
Head coach Ambros Martin will try to make do with the resources available.
“We all regret that one of the world’s best will not be able to play at the EHF EURO 2020. First of all, we must take care of the health of our handball players,” said the Spanish coach.
Russia had already made back-up plans and called up Buducnost’s Valeriia Maslova. The 19-year old right back scored 17 goals in six games in the EHF Champions League.
Norway: A good sparring up against Denmark
Norway’s dominance against Denmark is nothing new, as they won 12 of their past 13 duels in the last six years, with the only loss coming in a friendly game in July 2019. This time, Norway came out on top again, 27:25, in a friendly game played in Vejle, close to Kolding and Herning, where the showcase tournament will take place in December.
The Danish side scored 16 goals in the first half, taking a two-goal advantage, only for Norway to muster a comeback, conceding just nine goals in the second half for a 27:25 win. Experienced left wing Camilla Herrem was Norway’s top scorer with seven goals, as Denmark had centre back Mia Rej and line player Rikke Iversen scoring four goals apiece.
“It was not the best for us, it was a mediocre game, but I am happy we were still able to win. In the next game, we will be ready from the start,” said Norwegian right back Nora Mørk, who missed the previous EHF EURO two years ago due to injury.
A second game between the two sides will take place in Vejle today.
Czech Republic: New role for Kristyna Mika
The Czech side has been in dire straits in the past weeks, with a string of experienced players missing, including team captain Iveta Koresova, goalkeeper Lucie Satrapova, and right backs Helena Rysankova and Michaela Hrbkova.
Experienced left wing Kristyna Mika will also miss out as a player, due to a knee injury, but she is still set to join the team - as a message therapist.
The 33-year-old left wing played 133 times for the national team.
Also, the many players missing might be a blessing in disguise for Martina Prikrylova, Mika’s sister. The 27-year old left wing, who plays for DHK Zora Olomouc could now be on the team that open their campaign against Sweden on 3 December.
Currently, the Czech Republic entered a training bubble in Cheb, with 23 players.
Hungary: Good news for Elek-Danyi duo
Hungary can continue their preparation with a full squad, after the players from FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria as well as their coach Gabor Elek were all tested negative. They all had been in contact with a player of RK Krim Mercator during last weekend’s EHF Champions League game.
20 players are now trying to impress Elek and fellow coach Gabor Danyi, as only 16 of them will be on the team sheet for their first EHF EURO game against Croatia on 4 December. Until then, Hungary will meet Sweden twice, on 28 November and 29 November, in two friendly games played in Trollhattan.
“This will be the most unpredictable EHF EURO in my career,” Zsuzsanna Tomori told Hungarian newspaper Nemzeti Sport. The 33-year-old left back has already played four times at the EHF EURO, most recently in 2014, scoring 87 goals, the third all-time best Hungarian scorer in the competition.