Highs and lowsArticle
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Summary of EHF EURO 2010 Main Round.

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Highs and lows

With only the Final weekend to go we have a look back. Please find a complete summary of EHF EURO 2010 Main Round.

Group I, MCH Arena, Herning, Denmark

EHF EURO 2010 Main Round, Group I in Herning has seen some fantastic moments and exciting games, and has proved to be a tough challenge for all the teams, except perhaps for Denmark and Romania, as both had already qualified for the semi-finals prior to the last match day.

Spain finished in last position in the group as they were unable to cope with the loss of the injured Begoña Fernández in their early games, and it was only after her return that Jorge Dueñas’ team started to improve and play better, but, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to finish higher up in the group.

Croatia showed that they have a fine team, but their inconsistency with their game plans meant only a fifth-placed finish in the group.

Evgeny Trefilov´s Russia arrived with a new generation of young players and without an ideal amount of preparation time, Olga Levina and her teammates in the Sbornaja had a varied performance, but with the right amount of preparation time, Trefilov´s team will return to the world championships next year as a threat.

Debutants Montenegro surprised many at the tournament, with Bojana Popovic performing to the highest quality and leading her side throughout, most notably against Denmark where they ended the joint-hosts 100% unbeaten record in a high-quality and exciting match, the most outstanding of the Main Round, Group I.

Romania showed their pedigree again as Radu Voina´s team are currently preparing themselves to play in the EHF EURO 2010 semi-final tomorrow. Except for their game against Denmark, Romania presented themselves in top form throughout the Main Round, despite the injuries to key players they suffered before and during the championship.

Denmark rose to their top performance level from match to match and with the backing of their spectators won five straight games, before losing against Montenegro last night.

"We wanted to beat Montenegro, but with our heads we were already focusing on Norway. We look forward to the match with great excitement," said coach Jan Pytlick at today´s press conference.

Group II, Hakons Hall, Lillehammer, Norway

It was freezing cold in Lillehammer, but when the Norwegians played on home soil, the atmosphere in the Hakons Hall rose to the highest temperatures.

The EHF EURO 2010 Main Round, Group II in Norway went down to a Nordic duel in the end as Norway and Sweden – winners of their respective Preliminary Round groups in Larvik and Lillehammer – fought hard for the top rank, finishing equal with each eight points each and leaving their opponents behind.

The meeting of the neighbours was the best match in Lillehammer -a real clash which ended in a big surprise. Even His Majesty King Harald V. watching from the stands, could not bring any luck to the EHF EURO 2010 joint-hosts in the match of the tournament.

The Swedish defence and their goalkeepers stood like a wall, especially before the break – and allowed Norway to score just six goals in the first half.

In the end Sweden won 24:19 and found themselves in the best position for the semi-finals, two points ahead of Norway in their group.

But Sweden missed their first chance to qualify for the semi-finals when they lost 22:21 against the most successful team of the Main Round, France.

However, despite being the only team with three victories in the Main Round, Group II was not enough for “Les Bleus” to reach the semi-finals, as their burden from the Preliminary Round – big defeats against Norway and Hungary – was too big to make up.

In contrast to the Main Round, Group I in Herning, nothing had been decided ahead of the last match day in Lillehammer.

By winning their third game against the Ukraine, France secured a trip to Herning as they finished third and went through to compete in the 5/6th placement match.

Despite finding themselves down by five goals against Hungary the Swedish team managed to win 24:19 to go through to their first ever EHF EURO semi-final as group winners to meet Romania in the first semi-final of EHF EURO 2010.

Norway overran the Netherlands in their final match 35:13 and finished second in the group, meaning a semi-final match-up against their co-hosts, Denmark in the second semi-final.

Below the trio of Sweden, Norway and France, the young Dutch team ranked fourth – as they went on to win two EHF EURO matches in one tournament for the very first time.

Their most impressive match was the 27:19 victory against the disappointing Hungarians. The Magyars, who had beaten France in the first stage, could only manage one close 26:25 victory against the Ukraine in the Main Round.

The Ukraine had little opportunity to win any of their matches and did not pick up one point in Lillehammer.

“Unfortunately our only job here was to give congratulations to all our opponents,” the Ukrainian coach Leonid Yevtushenko said ironically.