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12.06.2011, 23:58
EHF EURO 2012 Qualification completed
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FYR Macedonia, Iceland, Poland and Slovenia book the last tickets for the Men's EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.
 

The last decisions have been taken on the final day of the sixth and final round of the EHF EURO 2012 Qualification.

After 94 matches, involving 28 teams, all 16 participants of the EHF EURO are known. FYR Macedonia, Iceland, Poland and Slovenia were the last to qualify for Serbia.

Those teams from the seven qualification Groups are qualified for the Mens EURO 2012:

Group 1: Hungary, FYR Macedonia
Group 2: Croatia, Spain
Group 3: Poland, Slovenia
Group 4: Sweden, Slovakia
Group 5: Germany, Iceland
Group 6: Norway, Czech Republic
Group 7: Denmark, Russia

The draw for the EHF EURO 2012 takes place in Serbia on Wednesday, live on ehf-euro.com.

Group 1:

Hungary vs. Estonia 34:27 (17:19)

Estonia were equal opponents until the break and surprisingly led 19:17; before Hungary turned the game with a 12:3 series to 22:19, the match was decided at 29:22.

The best Hungarian scorer was Mate Halasz with nine goals. Hungary won all six EURO qualification matches and finish ahead of FYR Macedonia, Estonia and Bosnia.

FYR Macedonia vs. Bosnia Hercegovina 25:19 (12:7)

Even before the starting whistle in Skopje, FYR Macedonia were able to celebrate their first ever qualification for a Men's EHF EURO.

With Estonia's loss in Hungary, it was clear that the Balkan team were through to Serbia, regardless of the result of their match against Bosnia Hercegovina.

Led by their top star Kiril Lazarow and supported by several thousand spectators in the Kale Arena, FYR Macedonia were in the lead throughout the whole game and was never threatened by Bosnia, who only took one point in six EURO qualifiers.

Group 2:

Croatia vs. Lithuania 34:26 (19:13)

Everything had been decided in this Group before the last round: Croatia finish as number one with maximum points, and had qualified before this match, just like second ranked team from Spain.

Even though stars like Ivano Balic were not playing, the Croats did not have any problems against Lithuania. The trio Ivan Cupic (9), Drago Vukovic and Domagoj Duvnjak (each 8) scored 25 of the 34 Croatian goals.

Spain vs. Romania 36:23 (18:11)

Spanish match winner was goalkeeper Jose Manuel Sierra who replaced the still injured Arpad Sterbik.

With a seven goal gap at the break everything was done and dusted. In the second half Romania resigned and Spain did not have to do much to win with a clear margin. Top scorers were Juanin Garcia (6 for Spain) and Stan (7 for Romania).

Group 3:

Poland vs. Portugal 30:22 (14:11)

In the closest of all seven Groups, Poland and Slovenia secured their tickets to Serbia in the last Round.

Poland are the Group winners with nine points ahead of Slovenia (eight points). Poland were in the lead throughout the whole 60 minutes and qualified for a Men's EHF EURO for the fifth time in a row.

After taking a quick 6:1 lead, Portugal hoping for their last chance reduced their lead to 11:14 at the break. But thanks to the saves of goalkeeper Slawomir Szma,l Poland took a clear victory which was latest secured at the 25:17 in minute 52.

Slovenia vs. Ukraine 43:32 (22:16)

Despite a great performance from goalkeeper Komok (14 saves) Ukraine did not have any chance in Slovenia against a team which had already qualified before the start of the game after the Polish victory.

As the margin at the break was only six goals, the host extended the gap quickly, thanks to a total of nine goals from Ivan Gajic. Slovenia led 20:12 before Ukraine reduced their lead, but with the score at 27:19, everything was clear.

Group 4:

Slovakia vs. Montenegro 36:21 (18:10)

Thanks to their better direct encounter (21:23, 26:21) Sweden have won the Group ahead of Slovakia (both 10 points with each five victories). As the Slovaks qualified for the third time ever for an EHF EURO, Sweden are still the record EHF EURO winners with three trophies.

It was a feast in the East for Slovakia, but the result did not change the final position in this Group.

Six years ago Slovaks won the tug-of-war against Austria in Koice to qualify for their first ever senior championships in their history.

The city in the eastern part of Slovakia had to wait long time to see the top handball. It was worth of it though because the home team not only prepared an extraordinary performance for them against Montenegro, but also set a new audience record in a handball event in this country. 8111 spectators watched the match in the nearly sold-out ice-hockey Steel Arena.

The Slovaks prevailed from an early start jumping to a 5:0 lead and forcing the guests to use their time-out in the 9th minute.

Zoltan Heister's team played full speed handball with a great defence, and through fast counter attacks and big saves from Richard Tochl who managed to score throughout the whole field and extended the lead to 9:2.

The rhythm did not suffer despite the change of the hosts' starting line-up and the difference grew to 12:4 and 18-10 at the half-time break.

In the 40 minute Szcs reached double figures and although Montenegro managed to get back to 27:19 for a short time, they could not avoid the second lopsided defeat by the Slovaks in a frenzied atmosphere.

Sweden vs. Israel 28:17 (14:11)

Although Sweden had some problems in their attack in the first half, everything changed after the break, especially when Israel lacked power and concentration.

Israel only scored six goals in the second half, as they did not have the means to break down the Swedish wall.

Thanks to nine goals from Kim Ekdahl du Rietz, who was awarded best player of the match, Sweden were never threatened and celebrated their Group victory.

Group 5:

Germany vs. Latvia 32:22 (17:11)

Thanks to their clear 44:29 victory against the before Group leader, Iceland jumped onto the train to Serbia as Austria missed their first ever qualification for a EHF EURO they were not hosting.

With two straight victories in the Rounds 5 and 6 Iceland now go to defend their bronze medal from Austria.

The German match was not only imprinted by the Group winning victory but by the farewell of Heiner Brand as the national team coach after nearly 15 years.

He was World Champion as player and coach and took a complete cabinet of EHF EURO medals as a coach: bronze 1998, silver 2002 and gold 2004.

His team and the 4515 spectators in the sold out arena in Trier gave Brand an emotional last match.

His team thanked him with a clear victory over Latvia.

The Baltic team finish the EHF EURO qualification without any point.

Best German scorers were the wing players Christian Sprenger and Dominik Klein with each five goals in an absolutely one sided match.

Iceland vs. Austria 44:29 (21:14)

Austria were without any chance against the Olympic silver medallist, completely in contrast to their 28:23 victory on home soil.

After losing against Germany hopes were low and Iceland showed self-assurance in this crucial match for the second place in this Group.

Right from the start the Austrian defence was too weak to stand up to the powerful Icelanders.

And the seven goals margin at the break was nothing compared to the second half, when Iceland overran their opponents. 

With the score at 30:20, the margin was ten goals for the first time, from that point on the guest resigned completely and the northern stars started celebrating their EHF EURO qualification.

The final 15 goal gap was biggest of the game.

Group 7:

Denmark vs. Switzerland 34:29 (20:12)

The two teams finished equal with ten points, both teams having already qualified after Round 5, but thanks to the better goal difference in the direct encounter (27:31, 36:29) Denmark are the Group winners ahead of Russia.

But going to Serbia is important for Russian handball, too, as they had missed the World Championship in Sweden 2011, and Serbia is their last chance to qualify for the Olympics.

Best Danish scorer in an easy match against Switzerland was VELUX EHF Champions League winner Jesper Noddesbo with seven goals, the same number as he had scored on Wednesday against Belarus.

Hans Lindberg scored six times for the 2008 EHF EURO champions.

Russia vs. Belarus 35:27 (20:14)

Despite eight goals from VELUX EHF Champions League winner, Siarhei Rutenka, Belarus were without a chance in the duel in Russia, in which the second Barcelona player Konstantin Igropoulo was the top scorer with nine goals.

The game was equal until the 8:6, before Russia extended the gap to 14:6.

The gap nearly remained until the break and then was five or six goals until the final stage, when Russia decided the game at 30:23 in the 51st minute.

Belarus finish third in this Group, but with a margin of six points compared to Denmark and Russia.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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