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24.03.2012, 22:15
Croatia earns EHF EURO berth
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Summary of Day 1 of Round 4 at the EHF EURO qualifications.
 

Croatia earns EHF EURO berth

With their victory in today´s match Croatia earned EHF EURO spots, whilst Portugal overcame Greece, Sweden outclassed Austria and Romania ironed out their Serbian failure and defeated their neighbors. ehf-euro.com presents you the summary of the first day of Round 4.


Round 4, Day 1: 24 March 2012

Group 2

Portugal vs. Greece 31:23 (15:14)

As expected, favourite Portugal overcame Greece and maintained their chance to earn an EHF EURO berth.

Greece surprised the hosts in the first period with an equal, head-to-head game, where Portugal suffered a lot and the away side led 13:12 after 26 minutes.

The hosts exerted great pressure towards the end of the first period and turned the score into a one-goal lead after 30 minutes.

With a switched defence, the hosts were more focused and increased the lead to a comfortable six goals (23:17).

With this clear Portuguese lead the Greek resistance was finally broken and the hosts knew very well how to control and manage the game and eventually build a robust victory.

Romania vs. Serbia 21:19 (10:11)

Romania`s national team took revenge for the first game loss against Serbia and defeated their neighbours by two goals.

Serbia were controlling the match in the early phase by leading 2:0 and 5:3, but with three straight goals the hosts turned the match and with Oana Manea´s super play on the line, coach Radu Voina´s team continued testing young prospects before the Olympic Qualification tournament.

Despite a two-goal lead for Romania, several mistakes occurred in the hosts´ game plan and Serbia´s back court showed a cold-blooded performance to gain a tight lead after 26 minutes that the away side maintained into the second period.

Goalkeeper Talida Tolnai gave a great performance that motivated her side´s field players and Romania were in the lead again after 41 minutes.

Serbia, however, fought back strongly, wishing for another victory over Romania within a week, and Andrea Lekic and her team-mates took the lead 16:15 after 45 minutes.

A thrilling final quarter started, with the lead changing hands several times.

Five minutes before the end, it was again level-pegging, and some dramatic dying minutes followed. Then the hosts scored twice without answer from Serbia, so Romania won and maintained their chance to reach the EHF EURO.

Group 5

Sweden vs. Austria 39:17 (16:10)

After Thursday´s away draw, Sweden outclassed Austria on home turf and have best chances to earn an EHF EURO berth, being top of the group after four rounds.

Coach Herbert Müller´s side from Austria was unable to repeat the team´s classy performance, and Gorica Acimovic and her team-mates were only equal opponents to the Scandinavians until the half-way stage of the first half.

Then, Sweden selected top gear, establishing a clear lead at half time that Johanna Ahlm and her colleagues increased in the second period with some highly impressive fast-paced handball.

Group 6

Denmark vs. Croatia 27:31 (12:20)

With a clear victory, their second within a week against Denmark, Croatia lead their group with maximum points and have earned an EHF EURO spot after four rounds of the qualifications.

In today´s game Croatia had fewer problems than in Rijeka a few days before, and the match had already been decided in the first half when coach Vladimir Canjuga´s team already led by eight goals.

The Croats produced a strong defence that Denmark were unable to cope with, so the away side held a massive lead (8:3) after nine minutes.

Andrea Penezic and her side were very successful from the back-court and the east Europeans quickly increased their lead to nine goals. (16:7)

The Scandinavians were shocked by the massive difference and Croatia, with great confidence, presented an efficient and convincing game, a real ’dream’ half.

A very aggressive Danish defence and their great will to reduce the gap meant that the difference between the two sides melted to only four goals  - 38 minutes had been played in the game.

With the increased pressure lots of mistakes occurred on both sides, but Denmark were unable to come any closer, so Canjuga´s team was able to keep their lead and celebrate a second victory over the Scandinavians in a week.

Ten games will follow tomorrow (25 March) to complete Round 4. 

The match schedule for tomorrow´s games in the third round of qualification for the event in the Netherlands is as follow:

Round 4, Day 2: 25 March 2012

Group 1

Germany vs. Hungary 
Trier, 15:00 hrs (local time)

Belarus vs. Azerbaijan
Mogilev, 15:00 hrs (local time)

Group 3

Russia vs. Montenegro 
Rostov-on-Don, 17:00 hrs (local time)

Poland vs. Great Britain
Elblag, 17:30 hrs (local time)

Group 4

Turkey vs. Lithuania 
Antalya, 15:00 hrs (local time)

France vs. FYR Macedonia
Clermont-Ferrand, 15:15 hrs (local time)

Group 5

Slovenia vs. Czech Republic
Ljubljana, 19:00 hrs (local time)

Group 6

Slovakia vs. Italy
Hlohovec, 18:00 hrs (local time)

Group 7

Spain vs. Ukraine
Estella-Navarra, 11:00 hrs (local time)

Iceland vs. Switzerland
Hlioarendi, 16:00 hrs (local time)

See where you can watch the games live on TV HERE.

Further Information

Find more information on the Women's EHF EURO 2012 Qualification HERE.

View more detailed information on the event on the Official EHF EURO 2012 Website.
www.ehf-euro.com/NED2012/


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
 
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