Real final for the third spot in Group B

PREVIEW: Norway and Hungary fight for the last main round ticket in Aalborg

While Spain and Iceland have already made it to the main round of the EHF EURO 2014 in Group B, the third spot for the next stage is open until the very last match in Aalborg. Hungary face Norway at 20.15 hrs. local time on Thursday and one of them will have to book their return flight on Friday.

From the paper form perspective Hungary are in advantage, as they – after the 27:27 against Iceland on Tuesday – have already one point of their account, while the Norwegians still wait for their first success after the clear defeat against Iceland (26:31) and the tight loss against Spain (25:27).

Norway want two points for their fans

So Hungary need a draw to proceed, while Norway need to win – and the Scandinavians again hope for a great support from the red dressed stands: 

“There are more than thousand Norwegians here in Aalborg, and for them I hope we can take the two points on Thursday,” said goalkeeper Ole Erevik, the tower of power and awarded best player of his team against Spain with his 18 saves.

And Erevik, who has something like home matches in the Gigantium arena during the EHF EURO as he plays for Aalborg club side, is optimistic to go on.

“We knew from the start, that the match against Hungary could be the final in this group, which means that we have to play just as good as on Thursday. If we look at the paper we are the lowest seeded team in the group, but if we play like we did against Spain, then we can take the two points."

After the performances of both sides in the previous matches a battle of the back court area is expected with snipers like Kristian Kjelling and Andre Lindboe on the one side, and Gabor Ancsin and Gabor Csaszar on the other. And both teams count on a powerful tall defence.

“We need to be on 110 percent, then we can beat Hungary,” Lindboe said.

Hungary in right rhythm

From the other angle Hungarian defence specialist Ferenc Ilyes has the same hopes.

“This final group match will be the same hard fight as it was against Iceland, it is our job to win now, because we have to qualify for the main round. And we are prepared for the great atmosphere, created by the Norwegian spectators,” Plock left back said.

And his coach Lajos Mocsai is sure that the tide has turned after the weak performance in the opener against Spain. “Now we are in the right rhythm for the rest of the tournament, which makes me feel very optimistic for our final match against Norway,” Mocsai underlined.

Past experiences

Both teams know how it feels to be eliminated from the tournament in the final preliminary match of an EHF EURO event: In 2010 Hungary lost their crucial duel vs. Czech Republic, while Norway missed the next stage in 2012 after a last second Iceland win over Slovenia.

The Norwegians even have the chance to take a sweet revenge on Thursday, as Hungary eliminated them on aggregate goals in the qualification play-offs for the 2013 world championship in Spain.

In addition the upcoming encounter will be a premiere - though both sides have clashed in total 13 times (with nine Hungarian and four Norwegian wins) this is the first time both face at an EHF EURO final tournament.

written by Björn Pazen / br