Hungary edge closer to Paris 2024 with fantastic performance against Sweden

12 Apr. 2024

Hungary edge closer to Paris 2024 with fantastic performance against Sweden

Hosts Hungary made a huge step towards a ticket for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, after dominating Sweden in the second day of the Olympic Qualification Tournament #1 in Debrecen, taking a 28:25 win.

With four points in two matches, Hungary are first in the standings, while Sweden face Great Britain in the last match of the competition, still holding big chances to progress after their win in the first day against Japan, 35:28.

Olympic Qualification Tournament #1
Sweden vs Hungary 25:28 (11:15)

The match between Sweden and Hungary had all the ingredients to be an epic one and the two teams duly delivered a crunch battle, as a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games was on the line, with everything to fight for, after both teams secured wins in the first round of the Olympic Qualification Tournament #1 in Debrecen.

The hosts were, however, the ones which had the bigger incentive to win, especially as they were due to face Japan on Sunday, a match which might prove difficult, with the Asian side constantly exerting pressure on European teams in the previous years.

But Hungary were dominant in both attack and defence over the first eight minutes, forcing Sweden’s coach, Tomas Axner, to call a team time-out early in the match, after Sweden went down 4:1, with a combination of great defence from Hungary, which yielded three interceptions and forced four turnovers from Sweden.

The Scandinavian side reset during that one-minute break and managed to create a 4:0 unanswered run, tying the score, 7:7, after they prevented Hungary to score for six minutes and three seconds. But yet again, Hungary used their own 3:0 unanswered run to build a healthy lead, 10:7, after backs Csenge Kuczora and Katrin Klujber combined for seven goals, being unstoppable.

However, Sweden’s defence starting to shift their focus on them, but Hungary had more in their arsenal, opening a four-goal lead at the break, 15:11, much to the delight of their fans, which supported the team through thick and thin, exerting serious pressure on Sweden.

Yet Tomas Axner’s side was more experienced than Hungary in these situations and were always not going to go down without a fight, as they experienced a nearly flawless start of the second half, a 6:2 run in the first seven minutes, with back Jenny Carlson shining once again after being named the hummel Player of the Match on Thursday in the win against Japan.

Carlson scored two of her seven goals in the match in that run, helping Sweden bounce back and put Hungary under serious pressure for the first time, but once again Klujber and Kuczora took matter into their own hands and scored crucial goals for a 3:0 run that saw Hungary grab a 21:18 lead with 15 minutes to go.

It was Hungary’s match to lose from that moment, as Sweden had never taken the lead throughout the first 50 minutes, therefore mentally, it was always going to be tough for the Scandinavian side to really force their way into a draw and Hungary ensured that this was not going to happen.

Kuczora (eight goals) and Klujber (seven goals) led the way for Hungary, which kept their cool until the end of the match, defended well, scored in exactly the right moments and secured a 28:25 win, their second in as many matches in the Olympic Qualification Tournament #1.

Hungary are now the leaders, with four points, two points ahead of Sweden, with this win bringing them closer to both the Paris 2024 Olympic Games tickets, as well as the first place in the group, which can be sealed if they do not lose against Japan on Sunday.

Sweden are big favourites against Great Britain and a win would certainly bring them the Paris 2024 Olympic Games ticket, thanks to their 35:28 win against Japan in the first match, on Thursday. 

hummel Player of the Match: Csenge Kuczora (Hungary)