Iceland devastate Hungary and book main round berth
In the first of the two decisive games to wrap up preliminary round in Budapest on Tuesday evening, it was Iceland who clinched the critical points with a 31:30 win and booked the first main round place available from group B. Their victory meant that co-hosts Hungary were knocked out of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022, in arguably the biggest shock elimination of the event so far.
One match down, and one main round ticket decided. The excitement in Budapest will continue with the Netherlands meeting Portugal at 20:30 CET and both still in the fight to progress.
- the most decisive moment occurred with two minutes and six seconds left on the clock, as Iceland goalkeeper Björgvin Pall Gustavsson saved a penalty against Dominik Mathe that ultimately secured the final score, with neither team netting again
- the match was almost entirely equal, with only some brief periods where Iceland managed a two-goal gap in their favour — the first at 11:9 just past the 15-minute mark and the latest at 25:23 in the 43rd minute
- EHF EURO 2020 All-star Team line player Bence Bánhidi was back and played a key role in attack after missing round 2 due to an ankle injury and a performance under his best in Hungary’s opener. Bánhidi tallied six goals to top score for the EURO co-hosts
- for Iceland, Bjarki Mar Elisson was a key scorer, with nine goals. Ómar Ingi Magnusson received the Grundfos Player of the Match award after scoring eight and delivering four assists
- with a solid 6-0 defence, 12 saves from Iceland keeper Björgvin Pall Gustavsson and a combined 10 from Hungary’s Roland Mikler and Márton Székely, and strong performances all round in attack — the match was completely balanced and the fatal decision was delivered only due to the clock running out
Early farewell for Hungary
Hungary entered their home EHF EURO 2022 with high expectations for a strong performance, and perhaps even a medal, and will be sorely disappointed to be out of the competition already. The team were widely predicted to be strong on their home court in Budapest and were certainly not foreseen to bow out in the preliminary round.
It is the first time the hosts of the Men’s EHF EURO have been out in such an early stage of the competition since Switzerland were the organisers in 2006.
In the end, I’m very proud of the team. I’ve very happy. For me, I started the project in 2018 with this team, to build it up again. It has been sometimes difficult for us, but I think we are on the way. We can play very, very good handball and we are looking forward to the main round.
It was a very well-balanced match, a tight match, a very close match. In the crucial moments, the decisive moments, we made mistakes and that decided the fate of the points this evening.