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Fiery clash to see one perfect record gone

GROUP II PREVIEW: There can be only one team at the EHF EURO 2018 who will still be undefeated after Romania and Netherlands clash in Nancy on Sunday

Who will prevail in the batlle of the only two undefeated teams? Netherlands or Romania? Photo credit: Jozo Cabraja / Kolektiff Images

Few teams won the EHF EURO by remaining flawless over the course of the whole tournament and there are still two sides who can sign themselves in for the record books.

But as the final whistle is blown in the fiery clash between Romania and Netherlands, one or even maybe both will lose their 100% winning record imported from the preliminary round.

Before the battle of the two leaders, Germany will hope to boost their chances for a semi-finals berth against Hungary.


Hungary vs Germany
Sunday, 9 December, 15:00hrs CET, live on 

A young Hungarian team was crushed on Friday by Norway, 38:25, so the way they will react to that loss will define their tournament.

Basically, a loss against Germany would see them out, as the German side will reach six points, while at least one team between Romania and Netherlands would be impossible to leapfrog by Kim Rasmussen’s side.

Hungary were totally outplayed and will need serious tuning to bounce back, after one of the worst defeats in their history at the EHF EURO.

It was another great attacking performance that lifted Germany past Spain in the first match of the main round, as the 29:23 win threw Henk Groener’s side in the mix for a main round berth.

Another win on Sunday would see them climb to six points, practically limiting Norway’s chances to retain their title.

“If we play like this all the time, we really stand a chance for a medal,” said Emily Bolk, Germany’s left back, and best scorer at the EHF EURO 2018, with 17 goals over four games.

However, the history is on Hungary’s side. Over the seven games played at the EHF EURO between the two sides, Germany won only once, in 2006, in the main round, 34:27.

The German side will surely hope to emulate that win in Nancy on Sunday.

Netherlands vs Romania
Sunday, 9 December, 18:00hrs CET, live on 

There were no teams with a 100% winning record in the EHF EURO 2018 other than Romania and the Netherlands and after their mutual clash in Group II, one of them will have to part with it.

The two sides have not met for 14 years, when Romania qualified for the EHF EURO 2004 after a hard-fought play-off, that saw the Dutch side edge a draw in the away game, 27:27, only to lose at home, 31:28.

It is a game than can be dubbed the final of the group, as the winner will seriously improve the chance to win the group.

But this is a multi-layered game, which will surely be one to watch for the neutral fans.

Ambros Martin has morphed Romania into a team with superb attack and brilliant defence, but will have his work cut out on Sunday.

Martin was the one who insisted on transferring Dutch playmaker Nycke Groot at Györ in 2015 and now coaches left back Lois Abbingh at Rostov.

“Maybe I know how Nycke plays, but she is not a one-trick pony, she can do a lot of things on the court and she will be difficult to stop. As for Lois, she is doing a great job at the EHF EURO and I know how dangerous she can be,” says Martin.

On the other hand, Helle Thomsen, Netherland’s coach, knows all too well what Cristina Neagu is capable of.

Thomsen has been the CSM Bucuresti coach between July 2017 and February 2018 and has coached Neagu and Aneta Udristioiu, so expect even a more difficult game for Neagu, who was the third best goal scorer at the EHF EURO 2018, with 24 goals after three games.

written by Adrian Costeiu / br