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16/01/2014

Royal support for Group D finale

MATCH PREVIEW: The Prince of Sweden is said to attend the encounter for the top spot between Sweden and Croatia

Photos: Brian Lindberg Jensen

When Sweden face Croatia in Group D at Brondby Hallen on Friday night (18:00 hrs), the question will be answered which of the two teams will take four points to the main round.

If crowd support is anything to go by Sweden have a clear advantage as not only will they be supported by thousands of fans in the sold-out arena, but furthermore Prince Daniel of Sweden, the husband of Crown Princess Victoria, is said to attend the match as well.

On the court one of Sweden's best bets against Croatia is their goalkeeper Mattias Andersson, who not only celebrated his 100th international against Belarus on Wednesday but also an impressive saving rate of 44 per cent.

His teammate Andreas Nilsson reckons that the 35-year-old Andersson, who debuted in the national team 16 years ago, is one of the essential assets when taking on Croatia.

"I think it will be a close and tough match, we definitely need an amazing goalkeeper, good defence and the best fans."

Croatia's Team Leader Ivica Udovicic told ehf-euro.com that there are no injuries currently troubling his squad.

"The key tomorrow (Friday) is the defence, that is the only area where we need tactical improvements we need, focusing on defence.

"We want to get off to a better start (compared to the match against Belarus), and in particular the defence has to be accurate, so we can show how the real Croatian team plays.

Playing against Sweden in Copenhagen, will become sort of a home advantage for the Swedish team, but we see it as a strength that we might be the better team and that we have a more experienced team, so they can have that advantage."

It will be the eighth clash between Croatia and Sweden and with Croatia winning five of them with no draws Sweden will without doubt try and level that balance a bit more.

Lasse Tjernberg, media representative for Sweden, confirms that everyone on the team will be fit for the fight tomorrow, even though the Magnus Jernemyr and Mattias Zachrisson both received some hits against Belarus.

"Both players are back on the training court today, it was luckily only a few hits and nothing too serious."

written by Mie Oestergaard / ts