Powerhouses progress to main round at the EHF EURO 2022
10 Nov. 2022
24 games have already been played at the Women’s EHF EURO 2022, with 12 of the 16 teams participating in the competition played in Montenegro, North Macedonia and Slovenia, qualifying for the main round, while the four remaining sides are now eliminated from contention.
The three teams that featured on the podium at the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship – Norway, France and Denmark – all progressed to the main round, with last year’s finalists taking four points into the next stage. At the same time, Denmark will start with two points, due to their surprising 26:28 loss against co-hosts Slovenia in the first match of the preliminary round.
Slovenia were one of the pleasant surprises of the competition, with the cheerful Zlatorog Arena powering them to the main round after a strong 27:24 win against Serbia. It is the first time that Dragan Adzic’s side have made it to the main round at the EHF EURO since 2004.
Denmark, Slovenia and Sweden will start the main round with two points as the three move to Ljubljana, where Norway, Croatia and Hungary are also joining Group I.
The reigning world and European champions, Norway, were the only team to score over 100 goals in the preliminary round, topping that mark by two goals with superb wins against Hungary, Croatia and Switzerland.
Despite a flurry of missing players, including the MVP of the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship line player Kari Dale, Norway were their true selves once again, dominating their opponents and being the only team to lead this group with four points. Denmark, Sweden, Croatia and Slovenia all start with two points, while Hungary start the group with zero points.
The most balanced preliminary round group was the one in Podgorica, featuring Montenegro, Spain, Germany and Poland. The first three teams made it through, but Germany did so just by the skin of their teeth after limiting the damage in their 21:23 loss against Spain in the last minute, which subsequently eliminated Poland.
Co-hosts Montenegro, which will now head to Skopje, had one of their best starts ever at the EHF EURO, winning all three matches and thus leading the main round group with four points.
In Group C, France dominated their opponents, securing three wins and their best start ever, with three wins and a +26 goal difference, including a 26:24 win against the Netherlands, where their defence prevailed.
Group II will throw off on Thursday, 11 November, with France and Montenegro starting with four points, Spain and the Netherlands having two points, while Romania and Germany are bottom, with two points.
The top two teams of each group will head to the semi-finals due to be played in the Arena Stožice in Ljubljana.
While 12 teams continue their journey at the EHF EURO 2022, the fourth-placed teams in the preliminary round – Switzerland, Serbia, North Macedonia and Poland – will be heading home.
Germany’s centre back Alina Grijseels is the top scorer of the competition with 21 goals, followed by Montenegro’s right wing Jovanka Radicevic with 20 goals, and Sweden’s right wing Nathalie Hagman with 19 goals.
The all-time top scorer of the competition, Romanian left back Cristina Neagu, is fourth in the top goal scorer standings with 18 goals, improving her overall tally to 282 goals.
Photo: European Handball Federation/Kolektiff