Defending champions win and proceed
The defending champions are the first team to be confirmed for the main round in Bratislava: Spain won the top clash against Sweden 32:28, have the optimum of four points after two matches and extended their winning streak to 14 unbeaten EHF EURO matches on Saturday night.
Led by eight goals from left wing Angel Fernandez, the Spaniards took a deserved victory in a high-level clash, which was also imprinted by the Swedes Jim Gottfridsson and Hampus Wanne.
Due to this result, Bosnia and Herzegovina are already out of the main round race after two defeats. Sweden and Czech Republic (both equal on two points) will fight for the second main round spot in their direct duel on Monday.
- both sides played extremely fast in the first half — and clearly had the focus on attack rather than defence, proven by 31 goals scored in 30 minutes. Mainly, Spain wing Angel Fernandez was on fire, netting five counter-attack goals before the break
- Jim Gottfridsson, who was awarded Player of the Match, was the outstanding attacker on the Swedish side, with goals and assists. But even he could not stop the Spaniards, who pulled ahead to 17:13 thanks to a double strike from Joan Canellas
- after the break, both sides improved defensively, and the number of turnovers and easy goals decreased — and more and more goals were scored from positional attacks on both sides, mainly by Canellas, Gottfridsson and Jonathan Carlsbogard
- Sweden were boosted by goals from Wanne, either from the wing or the penalty line — but his left wing counterpart Fernandez was unstoppable too. It was a one-on-one duel between the two to finish as top scorer, which ended with a draw (eight goals for both)
- after the 26:23 for Spain, the Scandinavians almost bridged the gap, but finally a double strike from young Ian Tarrafeta decided the match
Jim, the man!
In the first Sweden match of the EHF EURO 2022, the clear 30:18 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jim Gottfridsson did not have to play that much as his coach Glenn Solberg started his rotation very early. Therefore, the MVP and silver medallist of the EHF EURO 2018 was full of power in the crucial duel with Spain.
Gottfridsson orchestrated the Swedish attack in a brilliant way with many assists (mainly for the line players or Wanne) and inspiration, but was also a crucial scorer (six goals) with his famous and successful one-against-one actions. In form like this, Gottfridsson is definitely a candidate for MVP again.
Both teams showed a great fight and a good match, and for sure I am satisfied with our performance and two important points. It was difficult for us to get in the match. But when we managed to get everything more balanced thanks to our efficiency in attack, which even got better after the break against a big rival.
It was a very intense game, and we knew before that it would be difficult. We had too many technical errors – and against a great team like Spain you cannot win with this number, as you do not have so many attacks, so you have to be careful with the balls.