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27.10.2010, 23:41
Clear victories and surprise resistance
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Men's EHF EURO 2012 qualification started with ten matches on Wednesday evening.
 

Clear victories and surprise resistance

As teams like Norway or Spain didn’t have problem to win their openers clear, Germany nearly stumbled on home ground. They needed a last minute goal to secure a draw against Austria in their first qualification match on the way to the Men’s EHF Euro 2012 in Serbia. Russia was close to a defeat against Switzerland like Iceland against Latvia - and Denmark scored 41 times against Belarus. Round 1 will be continued on Thursday with another four matches.

Group 1:

FYR Macedonia – Estonia 30:25 (16:10)

Again top star Kiril Lazarov (Ciudad Real) was the key to success for FYR Macedonia with his seven goals against qualificant Estonia. Pinnonen scored the same amount of goals for the guests, who lay behind in the whole match. The importance of this victory can be felt for FYR if they also win points in the next Balkan duel match in Bosnia on Sunday.

Group 2:

Spain – Lithuania 33:17 (17:5)

With a furious first half Spain decided the match even before going to the locker rooms at half-time, as the guests only scored five times in 30 minutes. By saving some powers before Sunday’s match in Romania the Iberians slowed down the pace after the break, but still didn’t have any problems to keep Lithuania away with a great distance.

Group 3:

Slovenia – Portugal 34:31 (17:14)

A quite good start for the new Slovenian coach Boris Denic – but still the team of the Serdarusic successor struggled when they beat Portugal in Celje. For most of the first half the difference was not more than two goals, before Slovenia extended to 20:14 in minute 34. But then the game changed completely, as Portugal took the lead with a 8:1 series at the 22:21. After that shock the Slovenian top scorers Gajic and Jure Natek (nine goals each) led their team to a victory, which was expected higher. Solha scored eight times for Portugal.

Group 4:

Slovakia – Israel 38:24 (20:14)

Perfect start for Slovakia against qualificant Israel: The Stranowsky brothers scored 13 of the 38 goals, assisted by Kukucka and Szücs with each six goals. Already at half-time, with a comfortable 6 goals lead for the hosts, the game seemed decided. Even nine goals of Avraham and eight of Pomeranz couldn’t avoid this expected clear defeat for Israel.

Group 5:

Germany – Austria 26:26 (8:14)

The eighth and last goal of top scorer Adrian Pfahl only seconds before the final whistle kept Germany away from a opening defeat on home ground against the neighbour. Austria could rely on their brilliant goalkeeper Nikola Marinovic and was close to a real big sensation. The late goal of Pfahl was the one and only equalizer in a match, in which Austria always was in lead and clearly was the better team in the first half. Germany improved after the break but missed too many chances to turn the game. The guests fought brave and would have been a well-deserved winner. But in the end they unluckily lost a point despite the six goals of their top scorer Viktor Szilagyi.

Iceland – Latvia 28:26 (14:13)

The 300th international match of world star Olafur Stefansson was a real hard fight for his Icelandic team to beat the Latvians. The guests surprised the Olympic silver medallists with a 5:1 lead at the start, before Iceland equalized at the score of 10:10 for the first time. The match remained absolutely equal until minute 56 when Iceland scored three straight times from 23:24 to 26:24 and decided the game.

Group 6:

Norway – Netherlands 35:30 (17:15)

Thanks to nine goals of Kjetil Strand, Norway started with a victory in Bergen. The host had the better start attended by 3500 spectators – and they lead mostly with three or four goals throughout the whole game, in which young talent Christian Rambo showed six extra-ordinary goals. Although it wasn’t their best match under coach Robert Hedin Norway had the total control.

Czech Republic – Greece 32:20 (14:8)

The Greek team wasn’t a real hurdle for the start for the Czechs. Filip Jicha (top scorer with eight goals) and his team mates started well, increased the gap from minute to minute and could even save some power in the final stage of the match.

Group 7:

Russia – Switzerland 36:34 (15:14)

Despite twelve goals of Liniger and nine of Schmid the Swiss team lost unluckily in Russia, but showed a great fighting spirit. Russia was in lead 35:30 four minutes before the end, as Switzerland started their catch-up chase with four consecutive goals. And they even had the chance to equalize – but by losing the ball in attack after a false change of a player they paved the way for the Russian victory. As Switzerland was on eye level for nearly 60 minutes, Russia – with their top scorer Igropoulo (10 goals) - showed a disappointing performance in Chechov, like in June when they failed in the WCH qualification at the same venue.

Denmark – Belarus 41:33 (20:13)

Mikkel Hansen with a world class performance threw Denmark to this remarkable result by scoring ten goals. Denmark controlled the game completely, even as coach Ulrik Wilbek had to replace some key players. Belarus didn’t have the means to stop the Danish Express – so the match was decided at the break as the host played with a precision like a sharp knife in attack. Belarussian top scorer was Pukhouski with nine goals.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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