20220114

Powerhouses set for collision course

EHF / Björn Pazen & Adrian Costeiu

A mouthwatering clash between Sweden, the four-time European champions, and the winner of the last two EHF EURO editions, Spain, headlines the card for group E in Bratislava, which is also a rematch of the finals from 1998 and 2018.

Moving over to in group F in Košice, the two teams that won their first match, Norway and Russia, will try to extend their perfect start at the EHF EURO 2022. Meanwhile Slovakia and Lithuania clash to stay alive in the competition.

GROUP E

Czech Republic vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
Saturday 15 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both sides lost their openers: the Czechs surprised by a close 26:28 against defending champions Spain, while the Bosnians lost 18:30 against Sweden
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina still wait for their first ever point at EHF EURO events, having lost all four matches in 2020 and 2022. The 26:28 result against Spain was the fifth straight EHF EURO defeat for the Czechs
  • both teams have extremely strong goalkeepers, playing in Germany’s Bundesliga: Czech Tomas Mrkva (Bergischer HC) was awarded Player of the Match against Sweden after 16 saves, Benjamin Buric (SG Flensburg-Handewitt) had a strong start against Sweden
  • the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina have played six times in official matches, with the Czechs winning four and the Bosnians two. However, Saturday’s match on Saturday is their first duel at a major tournament
  • six Bosnian players were unable to play against Sweden due to positive Covid-19 tests

Rastislav Trtik, coach Czech Republic: “I know some Bosnian players personally from my time as coach in Germany and Poland. The Bosnians have a quality team – and of course there are no weak opponents at a European Championship. Compared to the match against Spain, we have to improve our attack and to score more. I am optimistic that we can improve.”

Ivica Obrvan, coach Bosnia and Herzegovina: “The Czech Republic are a very good team and they are supported by a lot of fans here. We are playing to win, but we know that it will be a hard match for us. I hope that some players can return on Saturday who were missing against Sweden and that we will play better.”

Spain vs Sweden
Saturday 15 January, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both sides secured opening victories in Bratislava – while Spain needed to fight hard to beat the Czechs, Sweden easily cruised past Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Spain and Sweden both reached the podium at the IHF Men’s World Championship 2021, when Sweden won silver and Spain took bronze. They also met in the EHF EURO 2018 final, when Spain took their first of two continental trophies and avenged their 23:25 defeat in the EHF EURO 1998 final
  • Spain is the only country with three medals at the last three major competitions: gold at EHF EURO 2020 and bronze at the World Championship 2021 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In Tokyo, they beat Sweden 34:33 in the quarter-final
  • Sweden are record EHF EURO winners with four titles (1994, 1998, 2000, 2002); Spain won in 2018 and 2020 and could become the first team ever to win three titles in a row
  • Spain’s rejuvenated team have a run of 13 unbeaten EHF EURO matches in a row after beating the Czechs

Jordi Ribera, coach Spain: “We expect a really tough match against Sweden, as they belong to the strongest rivals you can imagine. Every time we faced them in the previous competitions, those matches ended by close results. This duel will be very challenging for us and we have to improve our efficiency in attack and our general performance level.”

Glenn Solberg, coach Sweden: “This will be a very difficult game for us. Spain belong to the best teams in the world with a lot of great, smart players. But we know that when we play our best, we can beat everyone.”

20220114 EF Preview RUS

GROUP F

Slovakia vs Lithuania
Saturday, 15 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the game is paramount for both sides, as Slovakia and Lithuania lost their first two games and could see themselves out of contention for a place in the main round if they lose again
  • Slovakia are still searching for their first win in history at the EHF EURO, with one draw and nine losses in the competition
  • the losing team will be virtually out of contention for a main round berth, due to only the first two teams progressing to the next round
  • Lithuania made the third-highest number of turnovers in the competition in the first round, 13, and coach Mindaugas Andriuska has underlined the importance of eliminating the mistakes from their game
  • in the past 10 years, Lithuania and Slovakia met three times, each game played in the IHF Men’s World Championship qualification phase, with a perfect split between results – a win for each team and one game ending in a draw

Peter Kukucka, coach Slovakia: “This was always going to be the main game for us, one that we were going to try to win. If we take what we did good in the game against Norway and maintain the same level in defence, we have a chance. I saw Lithuania’s game against Russia, they started very bad, but they came back and even had the chance to tie the game. We will prepare for it and try to win.”

Mindaugas Andriuska, coach Lithuania: ““We will go for the win. But it will be hard. Every team that is at the EHF EURO 2022 deserves to be here. We will play against the hosts, which is always difficult. I think it will be a good game.”

Norway vs Russia
Saturday, 15 January, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the two winning sides from the first match are looking to extend their streak at the EHF EURO 2022, with Norway boasting the best attack from the first day of competition, when they scored 35 goals against hosts Slovakia
  • the winner can earn safe passage to the main round, provided the team they won against in the first game secures a win in the other game of the day
  • Norway won nine of their last 10 matches at the EHF EURO, with their only loss coming against Croatia in the semi-final two years ago
  • Russia’s left back Sergei Mark Kosorotov is coming of age at the EHF EURO 2022, being the third top scorer after the first day of competition, with nine goals, two less than the leader of the standings, Dutch back Kay Smits
  • Norway and Russia met three times at the EHF EURO, with Norway securing two wins, 32:21 in 2008 and 28:24 in 2010, and Russia taking one win, 24:21, in 2006

Velimir Petkovic, coach Russia: “We can win against any team, if we do our best. We know they are a tough opponent and we will prepare for it.”

Christian Berge, coach Norway: “I will go and try and analyse what Russia did against Lithuania. We need to be more focused and try to play better now, because this win gives us motivation. Our goal is to play good handball and that will bring wins.”

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