Sweden ride strong finish to eliminate Germany
For the third time in history, Germany have lost three matches in a row at the EHF EURO, after their disappointing 21:25 defeat against Sweden. They are now mathematically out from the tournament, with one game to go in the main round.
Depleted by Covid-19 cases, Germany were, however, playing one of their most complete games in defence, nearly shocking Sweden, after a great start in the second half.
Germany vs Sweden 21:25 (10:12)
- after starting the tournament with three wins in Bratislava, Germany lost three matches in a row, tying their worst streak in the competition, set once between 2008 and 2010 and the second time between 2012 and 2016
- after being tied by Germany at 15:15 after 39 minutes, Sweden prevented their opponents from scoring for six minutes and 49 seconds, going on a 4:0 unanswered run that sealed the win
- Germany’s undoing were their turnovers, 13, including three fast-break passes which were intercepted by the hawkish Swedish defence
- Sweden’s top scorer in the game, left wing Hampus Wanne, with five goals, also scored his team’s 2,500th goal in history at the EHF EURO, a feature previously achieved only by Spain, Croatia, France, Denmark and their opponents, Germany
- Johannes Bitter and Daniel Rebmann, Germany’s two goalkeepers, could only save four shots between them, for a meagre 14.2 per cent saving efficiency
Outstanding defence lifts Sweden past Germany
Since winning the EHF EURO for the first time in 2004, Germany have made the semi-finals only twice, in 2016, when they won the gold medal again and in 2008, when they finished fourth. What started with a three-game winning run this time around turned sour for Germany, as they lost the next three games, against Spain, Norway and Sweden, despite trying their best in the special conditions they found themselves in.
On the other hand, Sweden are now on a three-game winning run and have just started to get hot. Their defence has been nothing short of spectacular, conceding only 62 goals in the last three matches against Russia, Poland and Germany, an average of 20.6 conceded goals per game. However, their last game against Norway will be decisive for the semi-finals. A loss would put Sweden out.
It was not a match on the highest level, both sides caused many mistakes. In the final stage, we could reduce the number of our errors and our goalkeeper Andreas Palicka had some exceptional saves. Overall, the width of our squad decided the match, as we could constantly change without losing the quality.
I am proud of my team, we tried everything, we showed a great character. Sweden were the big favourites, but still we were in the game until minute 45. I am happy with our defence, and except the last minutes, the attack was also good. We lost the power in the end, we looked tired, Sweden could bring fresh players from the bench and they deserved to win.