Sweden vs Spain (Handball) by 20Legend
It is December which brings some of the best women handball to the court. This time it is the European Championship and Sweden is qualified due to the fact that they are hosting the tournament this year. Their coach Henrik Signell was signed in May for a two-year deal and was a big reason why Sweden managed to get to the quarter-finals during the Olympic tournament earlier this summer. He knows a lot of the players well as he is also coaching the Swedish club Sävehof in addition to the national women’s team.
Sweden has clearly got ambitions of reaching a medal as being hosts as well. The team did surprisingly manage to take a bronze medal during the Euros in Croatia/Hungary two years ago after beating Montenegro in the bronze final. Sweden is known for their strong ability to counter attack and they also have a quite good squad to choose from despite some alterations to the squad. Johanna Alm is out injured which clearly are tough news for this team, but they have other players that can step up. It was a bit surprising when Linnea Torstenson not got selected into the squad as she could have contributed strongly in my opinion. However, despite being without some important players, Sweden can achieve great things in this tournament at home. They must avoid injuries on their other stars though with Isabella Gullden being the most important figure.
Spain qualified to this tournament by finish in 2nd place in their qualification group. The team is known for their strong and physical style which cannot be underestimated in this tournament either. Spain has a good team and showed their capabilities just two years ago, when they reached the final, but lost against Norway in the Euros 2014. However, the team is also difficult to predict as their performances are swinging. Last year’s 12th place in the World Championship in Denmark was an obvious example.
The Spanish team should be happy with how their group is presented as it is one of the easiest on paper. That makes Spain a clear candidate of advancing from the group stage with several points in the bag. Eli Pinedo has retired from international duty while the depth in this team is very good. With players like Nena Pena and Carmen Martin, it should not be any surprise if a place in the semifinal will be reached. However, that requires consistent performances throughout the whole tournament, which has not always been so easy for Spain in the recent years.
It will be an important match from the start for both teams here with both teams being contenders for advancing from this group. Sweden will have the crowd backing them up while Spain will try to take that advantage away by being physical and stop Sweden’s quick counter-attacks. I think it will be a tough match and the total going under 50.5 goals.