Kolding (AP) – The dream of the first European Championship medal since silver at the premiere in 1994 has no longer come true for the German handball women.
The DHB squad lost their last main round match in the final in Denmark against Croatia 20:23 (12:12) and was eliminated. The best German pitcher was Julia Maidhof with nine goals. While the team of national coach Henk Groener has to travel home, the Croats went through to the semi-finals thanks to the success of record European champion Norway.
With 4: 6 points, the German handball players were only fourth in Group II and with that the next disappointment after the Olympic qualification that was lost at the World Cup last year. DHB women have been waiting in vain for precious metal at a major event for 13 years, the last time the bronze was in 2007.
Just 24 hours after the narrow 27:28 defeat against world champions the Netherlands, the German team, which would have needed a win with two goals to get through, initially showed no loss of strength. From the outset, the defense was aggressively attacked as usual and pressure was applied in the attack. However, after a good initial phase, the DHB squad’s biggest shortcoming quickly became apparent over the course of the tournament: the lack of utilization of opportunities. Even from a free position, the best chances were awarded.
So the eighth in the World Cup, who could never get away with more than two goals, came behind for the first time more than two minutes before half time at 10:11. Fortunately, Julia Maidhof showed no nerves on the seven-meter line and converted all six penalties in the first half. So after 30 minutes everything was still possible for the DHB selection.
However, a bad start after half time robbed the German team of all semi-final chances. There was no hit for almost ten minutes. Croatia took advantage of the weak phase and pulled away with a 5-0 run to 17:12. Now every step hurt – and in the end, almost nothing worked. Even Maidhof showed nerves for the first time.
Although the DHB women did not give up, they ran after the residue in vain because the throwing effectiveness was less than 50 percent. In the end, that was far too little for the first participation in a semifinal of the EM since 2008.