North Macedonia shatter Switzerland's dreams; Denmark record big win
Going into the last round of Men's EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers, Denmark and North Macedonia had already secured the first two places in group 7, but Switzerland still had the opportunity of qualifying for the final tournament.
Despite an eight-goal outing from the top goalscorer of the EHF EURO qualifiers, Andre Schmid, Switzerland could not overcome North Macedonia, meaning that they missed out on qualification as their only two wins had come against Finland.
North Macedonia vs Switzerland 29:28 (16:16)
- needing a win to progress to their second consecutive EHF EURO final tournament, Switzerland enjoyed a superb start to the game, jumping to a 10:7 lead on the back of Lenny Rubin’s four-goal start
- a 5:2 run for North Macedonia tied the game at 13:13, but the two key players in both teams – Kiril Lazarov (two goals) and Andre Schmid (three goals) – were kept in check by the opposing defences
- the top goal scorer of the EHF EURO qualifiers, Andre Schmid, upped his game in the second half and finished the game with eight goals, taking his overall tally to 55 goals
- but North Macedonia deployed a 3:0 run that was the catalyst for their fifth win of the group phase
- with Denmark holding the tiebreaker between the two sides, North Macedonia finished their best-ever EHF EURO qualification campaign in second place
Lazarov wins the battle of old guns
Despite already being assured of their place at the EHF EURO 2022, there was nothing that could deter North Macedonia from winning their last game in group 7. Player-coach Kiril Lazarov took it upon himself to lead by example, scoring six goals in the match to finish the qualifiers with 34 goals.
However, Switzerland failed to proceed to the EHF EURO for the second time in a row, and it could be the swansong for top scorer Andre Schmid in the Swiss national team.
Denmark vs Finland 46:24 (24:11)
- having bounced back from a defeat against North Macedonia in the third game of the group, Denmark recorded three wins in a row to take first place in the group
- a 7:3 run from Denmark, powered by young guns Mads Hoxer Hangaard and Emil Jakobsen, who scored three goals apiece, lifted the reigning world champions to a 13:6 lead after 14 minutes
- this was Denmark’s biggest win in the EHF EURO qualifiers since October 1993, when the Danish side enjoyed a 28-goal win against Moldova, 41:13
- powered by a 10-goal outing from Jakobsen, Denmark produced their best-ever attacking performance in the EHF EURO qualifiers
- with six defeats from six matches, Finland finished among the four lowest-ranked teams and will participate in the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 relegation round