History continues since 2002; France the only unbeaten side

FACTS AND FIGURES: The most important numbers of the main round: Zdrahala top scores, while just one 2016 semi-finalist made it to the same stage again

World champions France are the only team to have won all their matches on the path to the semi-finals. Photo: Anze Malovrh

It’s crunch time at the EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia, with the five matches ahead in Arena Zagreb on Friday and Sunday to decide the medallists and positions five and six. The semi-final clashes see France against Spain and Denmark meet Sweden on Friday, while Croatia and Czech Republic take the court for the placement match.

 After the main round was completed on Wednesday night, here are the most important Facts and Figures for this stage of the tournament.

1 team have won all six matches so far: France.

1 semi-finalist – only 2016 runners-up Spain – was also part of the medal round two years ago in Poland. Defending champions Germany, bronze medallists Croatia and fourth-ranked Norway were all eliminated on the last day of main round matches.  

1 team – either Sweden or Spain, depending on their final position – will book a ticket to the World Championship 2019 in Germany and Denmark. France (defending champions) and Denmark (hosts) are already qualified.

1 match in the main round ended in a draw: the duel between Slovenia and Czech Republic (26:26).

2 teams – Serbia and FYR Macedonia – lost all three of their main round matches.

2 teams – France and Denmark – won all their main round matches.

3 French players – Nikola Karabatic, Luc Abalo and Michael Guigou – have the chance to win their fourth EHF EURO trophy.

4 times, Sweden have won the Men’s EHF EURO to be record winners, followed by France (three titles), and Denmark (two). Despite four final participations so far, Spain have never claimed the EHF EURO title – making them the only 2018 semi-finalist yet to raise the trophy.

6 goals were scored by the Macedonians in the first half of their main round match against Spain (6:15), which was the lowest number of goals for one team in 30 minutes at this EHF EURO.

8 times each, including 2018, Denmark and Spain have been part of the Men’s EHF EURO Semi-finals. Sweden and France are both playing their sixth.

8 positions Germany dropped in the final ranking – the 2016 champions finish in ninth place.

9 play-off pairings for the World Championship 2019 will be drawn on Saturday in Zagreb.

9 of 12 Men’s EHF EURO titles have been won by the four semi-finalists. The only previous winners of the trophy missing from the semi-finals are Russia (1996) and Germany (2004, 2016).

11 goals in one match were scored by two Danes – the individual high scores in one main round game. Lasse Svan reached that tally in the 31:28 win against Slovenia, while Michael Damgaard scored 11 times in the 31:20 victory over the Macedonians. Czech Republic’s Ondrej Zdrahala retains the individual highest score of the whole tournament, with 14 goals against Hungary.

11 goals was the clearest final score line in the main round – twice with the same result and the same losing side, as Denmark and Spain both beat FYR Macedonia 31:20. In total, 17 goals is the biggest margin so far at the EHF EURO 2018, when Spain beat Czech Republic 32:15 in the preliminary round.

16 years and nothing has changed, as history is repeated in two categories: Since 2002, no team managed to defend the title. The last to do it was Sweden – and they were, in the same year, the last hosts to win the trophy. Neither Germany nor Croatia remain in the race for the title.

16 years ago, Sweden played their most recent EHF EURO semi-final. For Spain it was 2016, while France and Denmark last made the semi-finals in 2014.

18 red cards – including the preliminary round – have been given during this EHF EURO so far.

40 goals were scored in France’s 23:17 victory against Sweden, making their clash the lowest scoring match of not only the main round, but the whole EHF EURO. The next lowest was 41 (22:19) in the match Germany versus Czech Republic.

42 goals were scored by Czech Republic’s Ondrej Zdrahala, the top scorer after the main round. He has the chance to add more strikes in the 5/6 placement match. He is ahead of the Norwegians Kristian Bjornsen (37) and Sander Sagosen (32). The top scorer of the semi-final participants is Dane Mikkel Hansen (29 goals), ahead of French Kentin Mahe (26).

58 matches at EHF EURO final tournaments is the new record, now held by France’s Nikola Karabatic, who took the top positon from his coach Didier Dinart (57).

69 goals hit the net in the highest-scoring match of the main round, when France beat Serbia 39:30. That match was also the highest-scoring of the whole EHF EURO, ahead of the 67 goals in the Norway versus Austria match (39:28) in the preliminary round.

73 shots were saved by Norway goalkeeper Torbjorn Bergerud to top this ranking ahead of Viachaslau Saldatsenka (BLR/71) and Vincent Gerard (FRA/62). The highest overall percentage of saved shots between goalkeepers who played six matches is that of Denmark’s Jannick Green Krejberg (40 per cent).

143 goals were conceded by Spain so far, making theirs the most effective defence ahead of Germany (145), Denmark (148), Sweden (153) and France (156).

191 goals were scored by Norway in the preliminary and main rounds, ahead of France (189) and Croatia (176).

2,241 goals have been scored so far at the EHF EURO 2018. After 1,278 goals in the preliminary round (average of 53.25 per match), fans at the main round matches in Zagreb (494) and Varazdin (469) saw 963 goals in the second stage of the tournament (average 53.50 per game).

14,000 was the highest attendance of the main round – in the match Croatia versus France, won by France 30:27.

written by Björn Pazen / cg