For 30 minutes, FYR Macedonia were on an equal level with Denmark, before the Scandinavians started their engines and took a third, decisive victory in their third EHF EURO 2018 Main Round Group II match. The unlucky Macedonians, who netted only eight times in the second half, leave emptyhanded after losing all three games in Varazdin. Denmark’s top scorer was Michael Damgaard with 11 strikes that earned him the best player of the match award.
"It was hard to focus today, since everything was well known after first game but in the end we must be very satisfied with the game and our first place. Second half was much better then first one," Danish right wing Lasse Svan said.
As the Danes, who finish with eight points in their account, were confirmed as winners of Group II before the match started, coach Nikolaj Jacobsen saved the power of some key players such as Hans Lindberg, Rene Toft Hansen and Henrik Mollgaard in the first half. The Macedonians could also play without pressure, as even the race for the 5/6 placement match was over when they were defeated by Czech Republic on Tuesday.
But the Balkan side were eager to make their fans in Varazdin Arena happy, and worked hard to win their first main round points. After missing the decisive last penalty against Czech Republic, Dejan Manaskov was cold as ice from the seven-metre line, netted all three penalty shots before the break – though he was stopped by Jannick Green Krejberg right after half-time.
The first 30 minutes of the match were equal. Denmark were only ahead twice (7:5 and 8:6), and the level score of 12:12 at half-time was a deserved result.
After the break, the depth in their squad and fresh options coming off the bench were key as the Danes easily forged ahead to the decisive 21:15 in minute 45. Even two time-outs from FYR Macedonia coach Raul Gonzalez within eight minutes did not change anything.
The Danes strengthened their defence and recorded an 8:2 series – thanks mainly to the strikes from Damgaard and line player Anders Zachariassen (five goals). It was Zachariassen who took Denmark to their first double-figured advantage at 28:18 eight minutes before the end.
Regardless of the decisive result against them, the Macedonian fans showed their appreciation and gave a big hand for their team after the final buzzer.