Their winning streak indeed very much in danger now. But even more important: with this result, Denmark would win the group and avoid France in the semi-finals. 21:37 This is a great match to close the main round with. Denmark in with a serious chance to end Norway's 17-match winning streak at EHF EURO events. 22:22 at the moment, 15 minutes on the clock.
Sweden now all but guaranteed to enter the match for fifth place on Friday. Nathalie Hagman in fine form, with five from five so far. 18:36 HALF-TIME | NETHERLANDS VS MONTENEGRO 21:15 Netherlands seem cruising towards the win they need, scoring 21 in the first-half against the semi-finalists, who, as mentioned, don't play in their strongest line-line-up. What does EHF journalist Adrian Costeiu in Skopje make of the first half? "As they are already second in the group, with no chance to move into first place, and have qualified to the semi-finals, Montenegro decided to give two of their top players, right wing Jovanka Radicevic and centre back Milena Raicevic, a much-needed rest ahead of the game against the winner of group I in Ljubljana on Friday. Properly motivated, as they surely need a win to stay in the hunt for the 5/6 placement match in Ljubljana, Netherlands started the game well and took the lead after five minutes, creating a three-goal gap (10:7) with 13 minutes to go.
15:27 While the Slovenian home crowd will go mad again when their heroes try to keep their semi-final dream alive, the match against Hungary in Stožice Arena starts with a minute of silence to commemorate Ula Kos, a young player of handball club Z’Dežele (Celje), who passed away at age 17 after a tragical accident. 15:21 So for co-hosts Slovenia in Ljubljana, they will be through to the semi-finals if they beat Hungary AND Croatia do not lose to Sweden AND Norway beat Denmark. Otherwise, Slovenia still qualify for the 5th place match if they: beat Hungary AND Sweden do not beat Croatia, or they tie with Hungary AND Sweden lose to Croatia For Hungary, nothing is at stake anymore, except for gaining more experience.
The clock says 16 minutes left, and then Sweden will be confirmed as the first team to go through to Friday's 5/6 placement match. And are their opponents currently playing in Skopje? 18:59 Time timeout Montenegro. They are currently 11 goals down (29:18) against Netherlands, and even with nothing at all at stake for her team, this is now getting a bit too much for head coach Bojana Popovic. 18:39 HALF-TIME | CROATIA VS SWEDEN 11:17 The significance of this game has been massively reduced of course by Denmark locking up the last semi-final spot earlier.
In the other group, the semi-finalists have been confirmed – France and Montenegro – so Romania vs Germany in Skopje is all about aiming for a third-place finish and qualifying for what is officially called the 5/6 placement match, in Ljubljana on Friday. 15:15 The first four teams are getting ready for the opening two games today: Hungary vs Slovenia in Ljubljana and Romania vs Germany in Skopje. It is all or nothing now: teams know exactly what they need in order to extend their presence in the tournament – and you know as well thanks to this overview.
The big win is also important for the Dutch team, as goal difference might play a role for their final ranking in group II. 19:23 Talking about milestones: Nathalie Hagman just converts a penalty to make it 30:25 against Croatia for her seventh of the night, and 700th career goal in the Sweden national team jersey. 19:17 Still, it is not all about scoring for Netherlands: 19:12 We have seen a lot of EHF EURO records and milestones over the past few days; in Skopje, another one might be in the making right now.
That is probably what Slovenia are hoping for, who recovered near the end of the first half but struggled for most parts of it. Let's hear from EHF journalist Courtney Gahan in Ljubljana: "Hungary seemed a little stunned by Slovenia’s power to start the match, and it is no surprise really — Slovenia have showed a different face at this EURO, building very well on their opening win against Denmark as they’re progressed through the tournament. With each match, Slovenia look more confident and threatening than this generation ever has before. Of course, the home crowd is also a big help and took some getting used to for Hungary.
We also knew we could not do anything about it. The most important here is that we still win this game despite everything that happened before the game. We want to win the next game, also. We need to focus on ourselves. Jenny Carlson Sweden centre back 19:31 RESULT | CROATIA VS SWEDEN 27:31 (11:17) In the end not as one-sided as it looked during most of the first half, but Sweden secure third place to advance to the fifth place match on Friday. Opponents, very likely, will be Netherlands. 19:26 RESULT | NETHERLANDS VS MONTENEGRO 42:25 (21:15) Netherlands get their record win, and – more importantly – remain in the for the fifth place match against Sweden. Inger Smits named the Player of the Match after netting seven, but Djurdjina Jaukovic scoring a match-leading 11.
But after a good start from Slovenia, highlighted by a great game in goal from Maja Vojnovic, Hungary settled into the game and — driven once again by a superb Katrin Klujber — came back to level. It has been a unique choice for Slovenia to have three goalkeepers on the bench, but has worked well for them, with Amra Pandzic coming in to replace Vojnovic and having an immediate impact. While Slovenia are playing for the most important win of their lives, with a chance to reach the semi-finals at stake, Hungary have nothing but pride on the line — but it seems to be a powerful enough motivator.
With Lunde’s increasing save rate, Norway have been able to fight back and, as we go to the break, we have a thriller on our hands to decide top spot in group I. " 21:05 HALF-TIME | FRANCE VS SPAIN Just like Montenegro in the previous game, France are resting several players two days before their semi-final. But unlike Montenegro, France are still winning their game: 17:9 at half-time against Spain. Here is the vision of EHF journalist Adrian Costeiu in Skopje: "France decided to rest plenty of starters, like Pauletta Foppa and Cléopatre Darleux, who are in the stands, while Béatrice Edwige and Grace Zaadi stayed on the beach, ready to take action whenever they were needed on the court. Yet France used the same style, deployed the same defence and took a seven-goal lead, 12:5, after 20 minutes, leaving Spain reeling.
Defensively, Slovenia are far from stable so far. They trail Hungary by 9:7. 15:46 Quite some turnaround in Skopje, where Germany have gone from 5:2 down against Romania to 9:6 ahead! Johanna Stockschläder the leading scorer so far, with five goals In Ljubljana, however, Slovenia and Hungary in the balance after a quarter: 7:7. 15:36 Good starts for Slovenia (4:2 against Hungary) and Romania (5:2) against Germany this afternoon. Cristina Neagu had already hit twice, and need just two more to reach that 300-goal mark at the EHF EURO.
Only a win from Slovenia could keep Denmark out of the semi-finals... 16:38 Germany building a substantial lead over Romania in Skopje: 27:22. That result would mean that Germany can still hope to play that 5th place match, but other results later today still need to go their way, as well. Meanwhile, Cristina Neagu have passed the 300-goal mark at EHF EURO tournaments... Legend! 16:30 Three goals by Ana Gros after the break, as Slovenia and Hungary remain in the balance; 18:18. Remember, Slovenia must win to stay in contention for the semi-finals. 16:10 HALF-TIME | HUNGARY VS SLOVENIA 14:14 We have seen Hungary play well before at this tournament, but they never managed to keep it fully up until the end.
On the back of a 7:0 unanswered run, Germany took a commanding 11:7 lead, as Romania took to rest their starters, including Cristina Neagu, who scored two goals, taking her overall tally to 298 goals at the EHF EURO. It was also some bad luck for Romania, who hit the post four times, but Germany also delivered a better attacking performance, taking advantage once again of Romania’s woes on their transition after the attack. It is still anybody’s game, with Germany taking a two-goal lead at the break, 16:14, and it will be interesting what happens in the second half, whether Neagu will come back on the court and Romania try to give all to win the game, or they test fringe players. " 15:53 Worrying times for Slovenia and Dragan Adzic calls his first team timeout.
Those winners will play Montenegro in the semi-final, with the second-ranked team set to meet France. Anyway, let's now see how Sweden deal with the disappointment. They, however, will qualify for the 5/6 placement match if do not lose by more than 10 (! ) goals against Croatia. In the other game, already qualified Montenegro are up against Netherlands, who can still reach that match for fifth place.