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13.12.2010, 08:50
EHF EURO 2010 - The elite continue
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Find a summary of the Preliminary Round.
 

EHF EURO 2010 - The elite continue

 

Main Round starts with top games in both Herning and Lillehammer. Exciting games are coming up in the second week of the major tournament. Please find a summary of the action in the Preliminary Round:

Group A

Denmark surprise in Aalborg, whilst further favourites Romania and Spain also progress to the Main Round.

Despite being joint-hosts the Danes surprised Europe by celebrating three victories in a tough group. Pushed and cheered by thousands of supporters, Jan Pytlick´s team has a great chance to go far in the tournament.

Romania arrive to Herning with two points in the bank. Radu Voina´s team celebrated two victories, beat their feared opponent Spain, but didn´t manage to overcome the hosts. Nevertheless being a strong team, the East Europeans still have great chances to go far at the EHF EURO 2010.

Spain start in Herning without any points and it´s a little disappointment for the vice European Champion of 2008 in FYR Macedonia. However the players had a tough season on club level in Itxako and some of their squad suffered several injuries, so the less good results can be explained. Nevertheless the Spaniards as great fighting team won´t give up any of their Main Round matches and will be tough opponents to any team they´ll face.

Group B

Group B in Aarhus proved the expectations, as it featured three equal teams and with the debutant of Iceland a less powerful national team.

The Icelanders fought bravely, but lost their three games on the 'big stage' of the EHF EURO. However they´ll go home as winners and with a lot of profit. For the gifted Scandinavian team it won´t be their last participation at a major tournament.

Russia top the group as winners, it´s no surprise as Evgeny Trefilov´s team is the reigning world champion. Despite being first, the Sbornaja were defeated by Montenegro and with this lost two important points in the race for a semi-final place. Russia are in transition and their new generation of young players is not as strong as previous ones.

Montenegro finished as second and the debutant show character in their games. Dragan Adzic´s team features world-class Bojana Popovic and with her the Balkan team is ready for reaching the top, however with the miss of Katarina Bulatovic and Ana Dokic who are both ineligible to play, Montenegro´s bench seems to be short for such long tournament.

Croatia are ranked third with equal two points as both Montenegro and Russia. They´re based around the core of Podravka, the leading team of the country. With Vladimir Canjuga, the Croats have an excellent coach who emphasis on strong defense. If the defense stands well, Croatia are ready for every challenge in the Main Round.

 

Group C

Group C in Larvik was the biggest surprise out of the two groups as Germany came to the Larvik Arena as favourites to win, but left crestfallen. With only a single victory against the Netherlands to their name they return home after a highly weak performance in that 33:22 defeat against the Ukraine in the last match in Larvik.

The Dutch team were also winners with that result as it meant they qualified with two points instead of none at all to take through to the Main Round as, following an outstanding performance in their opener against the Ukraine, they subsequently lacked power and concentration as they suffered defeats by Germany and Sweden.

The Swedes were the second big surprise in Larvik, as even they did not expect to go to Lillehammer with a 100% record and top spot in their group. Their qualification was the first time ever that a Swedish women’s team have had three straight victories in a EHF EURO campaign.

Even though they start in the Main Round without any points, the Ukrainians are full of confidence and hope to pull off more surprises, having never expected to get as far as Lillehammer.

Group D

In Group D Norway were in a class of their own. Three clear, decisive victories highlighted their ambition to win their fourth straight EHF EURO title and they were simply outstanding as they overran their world class opponents – such as France and Hungary – playing with full speed and showing their eagerness to brush all opponents aside.

Their last victims were the Hungarians, who before the match had shown their intent by beating France who themselves booked their ticket to the second stage with victory over Slovenia, but like the Ukraine they too start without any points – but a word of caution for anyone who is writing off the French team – their 2009 world championships in 2009 got off to a disaster, but in the end they were in the final and finished with a silver medal.

The first match day of the Main Round here in Norway sees the six teams who go through from the two groups – Sweden, The Netherlands and Ukraine from Group C and Norway, Hungary and France from Group D start their Main Round campaign in Group II today in Lillehammer.

Norway and Sweden start with the maximum amount of four points, the Netherlands and Hungary have two each going forward whilst France and the Ukraine don’t have any points to start their campaign with.

The two best ranked teams from Group II will qualify for the semi-finals the MCH Arena in Herning on Saturday, with the third ranked team playing in the 5/6th placement match before the semi-finals at the same venue.

The final match today brings together the two Norwegian EHF EURO 2010 Preliminary Group winners Norway and Sweden – and the result of this match-up may already go some way to suggesting who will be crowned EHF EURO 2010 champions.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / Márk Hegedüs
 
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