Powerhouses collide in semi-finals after superb main round at the EHF EURO 2022

17 Nov. 2022

Powerhouses collide in semi-finals after superb main round at the EHF EURO 2022

The main round of the Women’s EHF EURO 2022 has now concluded, with four teams remaining in contention for the coveted trophy. Up until this point, only one thing is certain: there will be no maiden winner of the competition, with all four sides having previously sealed the gold medal in the tournament. 

Denmark, Norway, France and Montenegro are the four teams that qualified for the semi-finals after finishing in the top two places of each group in the main round, which took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Skopje, North Macedonia.

The most exciting semi-final will pit together two powerhouses of European handball, that already met in the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship final – Norway and France.

France, who lost that game 22:29 after an otherworldly comeback from Norway, are the in-form team of the EHF EURO 2022, with a six-game winning run leading them into the semi-finals, marking their best-ever start in the history of the competition.

No team has conceded fewer goals than France (122) – or an average of 20.8 goals per game – in the build-up to the final weekend, despite resting key starters in the last main round match, which they won 36:23 against Spain.

Norway, who are missing several key players, including the MVP of the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship, line player Kari Brattset Dale, had a five-game winning run before their last main round match against Denmark. They lost 29:31, dropping to the second place in the group, as the two teams finished tied on points but Denmark held the tiebreaker.

The biggest surprise of the main round was Denmark’s excellent run, which spans now to five consecutive wins, after their disappointing start of the tournament, which saw the Scandinavian powerhouse lose 26:28 against Slovenia in the preliminary round.

With a superb performance against Norway on Wednesday evening, which translated into a 31:29 win, Jesper Jensen’s side qualified for the semi-finals for the third time in four editions at the EHF EURO and for the third time in a row in major tournaments after the EHF EURO 2020 and the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship.

Both times, the Scandinavian side lost, but they will hope to take their form and clinch an EHF EURO final berth for the first time since 2004. Their form has been second to none, and their attack delivered when it mattered the most, despite their results in the last friendly matches before the EHF EURO, which counted two losses against Norway and one against the Netherlands.

Denmark’s opponents in the semi-finals will be Montenegro, who return to the final weekend of the EHF EURO for the first time since 2014.

Photo: European Handball Federation/Kolektiff Images