Today, in the third round of the preliminary stage of the European Handball Championship, the Icelandic team will play against Hungary, which has already secured its place in the main stage.
Iceland, after the second round of the European Handball Championship, has not yet secured its exit from the group. In a tense match against Serbia, the Icelandic team miraculously saved a draw, being two goals down just a minute before the end. There was also a moment when Iceland nearly missed a victory in the game against Montenegro.
In the upcoming match against Hungary, which has already advanced from the group, Iceland needs to at least draw to demonstrate confident handball and strengthen their chances of advancing from the group. Before the Euros, Iceland had a series of seven consecutive victories, including qualification matches for the European Championship and friendly encounters. Their performances in friendly matches against Austria were particularly impressive: on 8 January, they won with a score of 37:30, and on 6 January, 33:28. The Icelandic team, ahead of the decisive match in the European Championship, is in a situation where they need to show their best handball to guarantee a place in the next stage of the tournament.
The Hungarian team sensationally secured its place in the main stage of the European Handball Championship after just the first two rounds. In the first round, Hungary narrowly defeated Montenegro with a score of 26:24, leading throughout the match. In the second round, they sensationally beat Serbia in the final minutes of the game with a score of 28:27, nearly losing a three-goal advantage just three minutes before the end. In the qualification for the European Championship, the Hungarian team showed confidence, losing only in the last of six matches to Georgia after five consecutive victories. However, in a friendly match before the Euros, Hungary lost to the Czech Republic on 5 January with a score of 25:26.
The Hungarian team approaches the third decisive match of the European Championship, demonstrating the ability to play strongly and win important matches, despite tough initial matches. In the match against Iceland, they can test their bench, but I don't think they will take risks.
Last year, the opponents met at the World Championship and Hungary beat Iceland in a tense battle with a score of 30:28. In 2022, Iceland won with a score of 31:30.
In an important match for Iceland, I'll try betting on a total of fewer than 57.5 goals. Hungary may approach the match with a non-primary lineup, as they have already secured their place in the main stage. I think the match will be tense with a lot of fouls and ejections.