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03.11.2011, 09:47
Italy close to a big sensation
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Seven expected away victories at the start of the first qualification phase for the Men’s World Championship 2013.
 

Italy close to a big sensation

The first European qualification stage for the Men’s World Championship 2013 in Spain started without any sensations on Wednesday evening. Only the Swiss team was close to fail in Italy but secured a last-stage victory in their opener.

The second round in the seven groups will be played this weekend. Only the winners of those groups qualify for the play-off matches in June 2012.

The remaining eleven places for those play-offs will be decided at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.

Group 1

Round 1: Great Britain vs. Israel 26:29 (14:16)

Even nine goals of Steven Larsson were not enough to surprise Israel: The Olympic hosts from Great Britain fought hard for their success at Crystal Palace, but in the end the bigger international and individual experience of the Israelis decided the game. Led by Chen Pomeranz (7 goals) the guests were in lead constantly, but Great Britain kept up with them until the end, but could not endanger Israel, who are the favourites in the re-match on Sunday again.

Round 2: Israel vs. Great Britain
6 November 2011, 19:30 hrs (local time), Rishion Le Zion

Group 2

Round 1: Turkey vs. Ukraine 24:26 (11:13)

Thanks to their physical strength and despite the fanatic support of the host’s fans, Ukraine started perfectly into their "Mission Spain 2013". But the men of the match came from Turkey: Goalkeeper Ibrahim Demir saved 16 Ukrainian shots and Ramazan Döne scored twelve times – but in the end Ukraine could not be stopped in this close match. The guests started well, led 9:5 and kept the lead until the final buzzer. Top scorer for Ukraine was Sergii Burka with seven goals. On Sunday both teams meet again in Zaporozhye.

Round 2: Ukraine vs. Turkey
6 November 2011, 17:00 hrs (local time), Zaporozhye

Group 3

Round 1: Belgium vs. Latvia 29:36 (12:21)

Latvia had decided this one-sided game at the underdog’s home right at the break, when the margin already was seven goals. Even as Belgium won the second half 17:16 – cheered by more than 1600 spectators – they could not turn the game. Top scorers were Cauwenberghs (Belgium) and Lilienfelds (Latvia) with 7 goals each.

Round 2: Latvia vs. Belgium
5 November 2011, 15:05 hrs (local time), Dobele

Group 4

Round 1: Finland vs. Netherlands 23:26 (9:16)

They had taken the clear control of the game, but in the end the Netherlands had to shiver – and were the lucky winners in Finland. 2200 spectators in Vantaa could hope for the huge sensation of the IHF Intercontinental Challenge Trophy winner, but the seven goals margin at the break was too huge to close for the host. "Our defence stood strong before the break, but in the second we played too weak – but we won," was the summary of the Dutch coach Harrie Weerman. Top scorers were Jac Karlsson (Finland/5) and Patrick Miedema (Netherlands/7).

Round 2: Netherlands vs. Finland
5 November 2011, 19:30 hrs (local time), Geleen

Group 5

Round 1: Italy vs. Switzerland 25:27 (17:14)

Despite a very weak performance the Swiss team were the lucky winners in this neighbours’ duel: 14 minutes before the end everything was well prepared for the big sensation, as Italy led by 24:20. But then Switzerland turned the game with five straight goals to 25:24, the first ever Swiss lead – thanks to strong Manuel Liniger, who was the top scorer with nine goals and took the responsibility in the decisive stage. "We were hit hard, but we did not fall," said Liniger after this tough struggle for the first points. In his first ever senior international match goalkeeper Nikola Portner (17) was another match winner. Best Italian scorer was Juan Martin Carrara with six goals.

Round 2: Switzerland vs. Italy
6 November 2011, 16:00 hrs (local time), Schaffhausen

Group 6

Round 1: Cyprus vs. Bosnia Herzegovina 20:38 (8:18)

With every field player scoring Bosnia Herzegovina had an easy qualification opener. After 30 minutes the distance was already ten goals, in the end it was 18 –the guests left Cyprus without any chance. Stojanovic and Vrzalic scored six times each for the Balkan team, Efsthatiadis five times for Cyprus.

Round 2: Bosnia Herzegovina vs. Cyprus
5 November 2011, 20:15 hrs (local time) Gorazde

Group 7

Round 1: Luxembourg vs. Romania 20:35 (8:17)

After six defeats in the EHF EURO 2012 qualification, Romania proved that they are still able to win. Led by their VELUX EHF Champions League players the Romanians left the "Challenge Cup" team from Luxembourg chanceless. The hosts led 3:1, but then the Romanian engine started – despite a strong performance of Luxembourg keeper Majerus. As the guests played faster, the number of errors arose in the host team – and the game was decided at the break. "It was a mission impossible for us," said the Romanian born Luxembourg national coach Adrian Stot. Csepreghi and Sabou scored six times each for Romania, Decker five times for Luxembourg.

Round 2: Romania vs. Luxembourg
5 November 2011, 15:00 hrs (local time), Buzau

Further qualification matches

Round 3: Wednesday/Thursday 04/05 January 2012
Round 4: Saturday/Sunday 07/08 January 2012
Round 5: Wednesday/Thursday 11/12 January 2012
Round 6: Saturday/Sunday 14/15 January 2012

Qualification Phase two – Play-Off Matches

Seven teams from Phase one and the eleven teams from EHF EURO 2012 not qualified for the 2013 Men’s World Championship yet meet in play-off matches. These will be played in a KO-system with first and second leg matches at two weekends. According to a decision of the EHF Executive Committee in March 2003 no double matches in one country shall be allowed.

Match Schedule

Leg 1: Saturday/Sunday 09/10 June 2012
Leg 2: Saturday/Sunday 16/17 June 2012

The nine winners of the play-off matches will qualify for the final tournament of the 2013 Men's World Championship in Spain. The fixtures for Phase 2 – Play-Off Matches will be drawn on 29 January 2012 in Belgrade (SRB).

Further information

Visit the official website.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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