Fri, 09 Jun 2023

France surprised at European handball championship

23 Jan 2022, 13:30 GMT+10

BUDAPEST, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- France suffered a shock defeat by Iceland while The Netherlands and Denmark both won here in the group stage at the 2022 European Men's Handball Championship on Saturday in Budapest.

The so far unbeaten France started against Iceland with great expectations, but was stunned 29-21 (17-10) as Iceland wrote a piece of history for recording their first win over France in the EHF EURO history.

With the win, the nordic team moved up the ladder to second place with four points in Group 1.

"We missed just about everything that made us win our previous games. Especially intensity on defense, Iceland did what they wanted, and we were not fighting enough. Now, we'll have to look up again and get ready for the next game against Montenegro," French coach Erick Mathe said.

After defeating Croatia two days ago, Montenegro failed to repeat the miracle and gave way to The Netherlands 34-30 in another Group 1 match.

The Netherlands needed some time to roll into the game and their stiffness caused them to trail by four in the first 10 minutes.

It was fortunate for the Dutch team to wake up in time and turned the game around and finished ahead by two at the break.

But viewers will agree that the Dutch would never have won if it weren't for their fantastic goalkeeper Thijs Van Leeuwen, who made 14 saves. A prowess that earned him the Grundfos Player of the Match title.

"I did not even train with the team as I only met them this morning. But this is an amazing group. It is easy to integrate. We won again as underdogs. I think it is due to our mentality, speed, togetherness. The only thing we are behind the other side is a bit of physical strength," the goalkeeper said after the victory.

The last match of the day was almost too close to call as the Danes overcame the Croats 27-25 (12-11)

Denmark had difficulty getting past the strong Croatian defense, but Mikkel Hansen managed to do so, putting eight goals in the Croatian net, and thus grabbing the Grundfos Player of the Match title.

The players will rest on Sunday, and come back on Monday, with Montenegro playing France, Denmark will face The Netherlands, and Iceland against Croatia.

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