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Zachrisson secures second main round draw for Sweden

REVIEW: Denmark let a three-goal lead slip from their hands when they tie 28:28 against Sweden, but they still top Group 2 in unbeaten fashion

Photo: Sascha Klahn

Sweden's chances to reach the Olympic Qualification Tournaments are still alive and so are Denmark's hopes to reach the EHF EURO Semi-final, following the teams' 28:28 (13:15) in Main Round Group 2 in Wroclaw on Tuesday.

Thanks to three consecutive goals in the final two minutes of the game, Sweden took a well-deserved draw – their second game with the same result after their main round opener against Russia also ended with a 28:28 draw.

"We played well and we had the game where we wanted it, but our last two minutes were not good and in the end it was unfortunate," said Lasse Svan Hansen after the disappointing end to the match for Denmark. 

With seven points on their account Denmark top Group 2 ahead of the final main round day on Wednesday – but they are not qualified for the sem-final yet.

Spain and Germany have six points each; Russia have three, Sweden are on two and Hungary still on zero.

Denmark showed in the first 20 minutes how easy handball can be at times. Goalkeeper Niklas Landin saved, the entire team sprinted towards the Swedish goal, and the Danish counter attack experts scored from the first or second attack wave of attack.

And if this was not successful, they still had Mikkel Hansen who fired on all cylinders.

Swedish coaches Ola Lindgren and Staffan Olsson took an early timeout after only 13 minutes when Denmark led 6:3.

However, at first Sweden were not able to change the course of the game. With the help of three straight goals by Mads Mensah Larsen, Denmark led 12:7 after 20 minutes.

But this was almost like a wake-up call for Sweden and at half-time they had reduced the gap to 13:15.

The match remained a top-level encounter with all ingredients a duel between arch rivals needs: Fight, speed, great fan support and tension.

At the beginning of the second half, head coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson surprised by his decision to replace Niklas Landin by young Flensburg goalie Kevin Moller.

At the end of the game Moller's saving rate of 25 per cent was similar to Landin's 17 per cent, and it was surely not Moller's fault, but came more down to the Swedish strength, that on several occasions it looked like as if the tide was turning in Sweden's favour.

When the score stood at 22:23, Landin returned to the court, but the rundown remained the same: Denmark scored to go ahead by two, Sweden tried hard to get level the game, but their attack failed in various ways.

But Sweden never gave up. With five minutes left on the clock, they were close to equalise again at 25:26, but Landin saved the shot.

Denmark forged ahead to 25:28, but Sweden refused to roll over even though there were only a little more than two minutes left to play.

When Appelgren saved a spin shot of Anders Eggert with 45 seconds to go, Sweden had the chance to finally level the game – and Mattias Zachrisson eventually for the final result of 28:28.

“I think we played amazing in the defence, and we changed it a lot to disturb them. It was a fight until the end, and we are happy about the one point,” said Sweden line player Andreas Nilsson. 

While Mattias Zachrisson, Johan Jakobsson and Andreas Nilsson scored five times each for Sweden, Michael Damgaard was the best scorer for Denmark with seven goals.

written by Björn Pazen / ts