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07.06.2011, 16:57
Days of decision on the way to Serbia
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The final two rounds of Men’s EURO 2012 qualification with 28 matches start on Wednesday.
 

Days of decision on the way to Serbia

Four teams have already qualified for the Men’s EURO 2012 in Serbia; reigning champions France and hosts Serbia, whilst Hungary and Croatia have already qualified from their groups, both with a 100% record of four wins from four in their qualification matches so far.

Round 5 features 12 matches on Wednesday and two matches on Thursday, whilst Round 6 features two matches on Saturday and 12 on Sunday.

All the matches are decisive for all the teams involved as by Sunday (12th June) all final 16 EHF EURO 2012 participants will be known.

11 of those teams could be known by Sunday, with Group 5 one of the toughest groups to call.

The top two of all seven groups qualify for Serbia, with the draw for the final event taking place on Wednesday 15 June in Belgrade.

Austria v Germany, Lithuania v Spain and Iceland v Austria will be streamed live on www.ehfTV.com, whilst most of the remaining games are being shown live on TV, click HERE for the latest listings.

Fixtures
(All times local)

 

Group 1

Round 5:
Estonia v FYR Macedonia (Wednesday, 20.00 hrs)
Bosnia Herzegovina v Hungary (Wednesday, 20.15)

Round 6:
Hungary v Estonia (Sunday, 12.15)
FYR Macedonia v Bosnia Herzegovina (Sunday, 20.15)

Hungary have already qualified for Serbia with four straight victories in four matches, but the fight for second position is tough.

If Estonia (currently on four points) beat FYR Macedonia (three points) on Wednesday the Baltic team will qualify for the EHF EURO for the first time in their history.

However, if FYR Macedonia win this encounter, like they did in the first match at home (30:25), their fate will be in their own hands in the final Balkan duel against Bosnia Herzegovina (one point), as they know a win will see them through to Serbia. Hungary will be clear favourites in both matches against Estonia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

Group 2

Round 5:
Romania v Croatia (Wednesday, 20.00)
Lithuania v Spain (Thursday, 18.45)

Round 6:
Croatia v Lithuania (Sunday, 18.00)
Spain v Romania (Sunday, 18.00)

Like Hungary in Group 1, the Croatians have already booked their ticket for EHF EURO with four straight victories and a 100% record.

Fighting for the final place behind them are Spain and Lithuania who each have four points, but if the Iberians win on Thursday they are through to Serbia, as their victory against Lithuania in their first match (33:17), will count towards their position.

To qualify for EHF EURO 2012 the Lithuanians need to beat Spain by a margin of more than 16 goals, as the Iberians are favoured against Romania (0 points) and Croatia are nearly unbeatable on home soil.

Group 3

Round 5:
Ukraine v Poland (Wednesday, 18.00)
Portugal v Slovenia (Wednesday, 20.25)

Round 6:
Poland v Portugal (Sunday, 14.45)
Slovenia v Ukraine (16.30)

Slovenia (six points) and Poland (five points) are in the best position for EHF EURO 2012 qualification – and by winning on the road both would qualify for Serbia on Wednesday.

Ukraine (two points) are out of the qualification race already, but Portugal (three points) still have hopes of making it, but will need to beat both Slovenia and Poland be secure.

Group 4

Round 5:
Montenegro v Sweden (Wednesday, 20.00)
Israel v Slovakia (Thursday, 19.00)

Round 6:
Slovakia v Montenegro (Sunday, 16.00)
Sweden v Israel (Sunday, 18.15)

If Slovakia and Sweden (both with six points) draw their Round 5 away matches then that would be enough for both teams to qualify for Serbia ahead of Montenegro and Israel (both with two points), but if both teams end up on equal points then Sweden will finish top, thanks to the better direct encounter (a goal difference of +3).

Group 5

Round 5:
Latvia – Iceland (Wednesday, 19.35)
Austria – Germany (Wednesday, 20.15)

Round 6:
Germany – Latvia (Sunday, 15.00)
Iceland – Austria (Sunday, 16.30)

Group 5 is the toughest group of them all with many possible outcomes of who makes it to Serbia and who stays at home. If Austria (seven points) beat Germany (five) they qualify for Serbia directly, no matter what the result is in their final match with Iceland (four points), whilst Latvia are out of contention as they have not managed to pick up one single point so far.

If Germany and Austria tie their match, Iceland win both of their matches and Germany beat Latvia, Germany, Austria and Iceland will all have eight points.

In this scenario Germany would qualify for Serbia, whilst the second qualifying team will be decided by the goal difference of the Iceland v Austria game.

If Iceland beat Austria with a margin of more than five goals following their 28:23 loss in Austria in the first match, the Nordic teams are both through. If not, Austria qualify.

Germany can be eliminated if they lose in Austria, and Iceland beat Austria, but they will be hoping that Austria beat the Scandinavians.

Group 6

Round 5:
Greece v Czech Republic (Wednesday, 18.30)
Netherlands v Norway (Wednesday, 19.30)

Round 6:
Czech Republic v Netherlands (Saturday, 15.00)
Norway v Greece (Saturday, 16.15)

In a similar situation as Group 4,  the Czech Republic and Norway lead Group 6 with six points each ahead of Greece (three points) and the Netherlands (one point).

If the Czechs get at least a draw in Greece, and Norway win in the Netherlands, both teams will qualify on Wednesday for Serbia.

As the Netherlands are out of the race to qualify, Greece need to win both their matches to make it to Serbia. If Norway and the Czech Republic find themselves equal on points at the end of the group, the Czechs will finish top due to their results in their matches against Norway (29:26 and 22:24).

Group 7

Round 5:
Switzerland v Russia (Wednesday, 20.00)
Belarus v Denmark (Wednesday, 21.15)

Round 6:
Denmark v Switzerland (Sunday, 16.50)
Russia v Belarus (Sunday, 17.00)

Three teams can still qualify for Serbia from Group 7, with Denmark and Russia (each with six points) in the best positions, ahead of Belarus (four points). If Denmark and Russia win both their away games in Round 5 then they will qualify for Serbia before the weekend, whilst Switzerland, who have failed to gain any points, are already out.

If Belarus beat the Danes, despite losing the first match 41:33, they can still make Serbia, but will need another victory against their neighbour Russia.

If Denmark and Russia finish equal on points at the end of the group stage, the Danes will go through as group winners, as they have the better record after both matches against Russia (36:29, 27:31).

For more information on the Men's EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia, please visit the official website HERE.


TEXT: Bjorn Päzen
 
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