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France and Iceland chase the last semi-final ticket

EHF / Kevin Domas

After winning their sixth straight game since the beginning of the EHF EURO 2022, Denmark grabbed the first semi-final ticket on Monday, but there is still one more at stake as the main round concludes in Budapest.

While France are currently in second place, with a two-point advantage on Iceland, things could be completely different by the end of Wednesday night. Iceland need a win and for Denmark to beat France to reach their first EHF EURO final weekend since 2010, while France only need a point to get through.

Montenegro vs Iceland
Wednesday 26 January, 15:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Montenegro are out of the semi-final race already, but Iceland can still book their ticket for the final weekend. They will have to win and hope France do not take a point against Denmark
  • the two teams have never faced each other at the EHF EURO. They did play against each other in the EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers, when both won their home game
  • with 126 goals conceded since the start of the tournament, Montenegro are the third least efficient defence of the EHF EURO 2022 while Iceland have the third best defence (100 goals)
  • both teams’ best scorers - Ómar Ingi Magnusson and Branko Vujovic - have scored 38 goals

Zoran Roganovic, coach, Montenegro: “We have one game left in the main round, and we want to leave the tournament with our heads high. That means playing our best handball, sharing some great moments with our fans here, and hopefully winning our last game.”

Sigvaldi Gudjonsson, right wing, Iceland: “We missed a chance to almost qualify, now we have to do everything we can to put pressure on France. So we have to beat Montenegro and hope that everything goes our way in the other game.”

Netherlands vs Croatia
Wednesday 26 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • even if both teams are now out of the race for the semi-finals, the Netherlands can still hope, if they win, to qualify for the 5/6 place game
  • this game will be the first between the two nations at the EHF EURO and they have met just twice in official competitions. In the EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers, Croatia won both games
  • despite missing the last game, Dutch right back Kay Smits remains the EHF EURO 2022 best scorer before the start of main round 4, with 45 goals scored across five games
  • Croatian Ivan Cupic needs two goals to overtake Lars Christiansen’s place in the EHF EURO all-time top scorer ranking
  • Cupic will also be sixth in the ranking for players having played the most games at the EHF EURO at the end of the main round

Luc Steins, centre back, the Netherlands: “We would like to round up our adventure with one last win. This game against Croatia will define the taste we have in the mouth when we go back home, and a win would be very special for us.”

Ivan Cupic, right wing, Croatia: “After having so much problems in the first round, it seems like we have finally found our rhythm. The Netherlands play fast handball, but we are ready to take them on.”

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Denmark vs France
Wednesday 26 January, 20:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • whereas Denmark are already in the semi-final, having won all their games so far, France need at least a point to make it through to the final weekend
  • Denmark and France played against each other four times at the EHF EURO, the last one in 2018 for the bronze medal game. France won all confrontations
  • the last time the two teams met was in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games final, with France winning the gold medal thanks to a 25:23 victory
  • Denmark had two players in the top 10 scorers of the EHF EURO 2022 before main round 4: Mikkel Hansen is third (39 goals) and Mathias Gidsel eighth (35 goals). Aymeric Minne is France’s best scorer, with 25 goals
  • before the last main round game, Denmark were both the best attack and the best defence at the EHF EURO 2022

Henrik Møllgaard, left back, Denmark: “We want to keep our momentum going, to win another game so we can have even more confidence. For sure, the game against France will be more important for them than it will be for us, but we want to win it anyway.”

Nikola Karabatic, left back, France: “Now is not the time for calculations. We just need to think about the win against Denmark, we just need to play 110 per cent against them to take the points. We are not thinking about anything else right now.”

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