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30.05.2012, 23:31
Groups 3,4 and 7 remain open
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Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia are through to the Netherlands.
 

Groups 3,4 and 7 remain open

Group 1

Azerbaijan vs. Hungary 24:34 (9:14)

Despite arriving late at night in Baku, the Hungarians assumed the favourite position by clearly defeating the hosts and earning an EHF EURO 2012 berth.

After a slow start, coach Karl Erik Bøhn's team improved their performance after the early phase and increased their lead minute-by-minute. During the game Bøhn shuffled his cards well and gave plenty of playing time to his players. 10 of them netted, line-player Anita Cifra being the top scorer with eight goals. 

Azerbaijan showed some nice moves in their attacks, but missed all five of their penalties and at the end were no danger to the more experienced Hungarian team.

Belarus vs. Germany 26:33 (12:15)

Even though Belarus delivered some nice results in last week's tournament in Turkey, the hosts were unable to surprise the Germans. Therefore everything is decided in the group, with both Germany and Hungary progressing to the EHF EURO in the Netherlands.

Belarus were only able to lead for six minutes, after which Germany took control of the game and quickly moved ahead thanks to a strong performance from right-back Stefanie Melbeck.

The second half didn´t bring any improvement in the hosts' performance. With Clara Woltering in her 25th match for the German National Team, the away side had a strong goalkeeper between the sticks who maintained her marvelous performance from the EHF Women's Champions League, where she helped Buducnost to the title.

Top scorer of the evening, Nadja Nadgornaja (13 goals), provided the icing on the cake for her side's success in Minsk, Belarus.

If Germany wins its last round game against Azerbaijan at the weekend, they`ll finish first in the group, having the better goal difference in direct encounters with second-placed Hungary.

Group 2

Greece vs. Serbia 21:26 (11:13)

The Serbian National Team secured an away victory in Greece and with this an EHF EURO berth in the Netherlands. 

The Serbians, with Andrea Lekic, quickly built an advantage of 7:2 and showed that they had more quality than their opponents. After that, they lost some motivation, and their own mistakes allowed the hosts to reach a decent half-time result.

In the second half Serbia again increased their lead to a secure five goals, which the players maintained until the final buzzer.

Serbian handball captain Andrea Lekic and Sanja Damjanovic played at the level that is expected from them, being the best players on the court.

On Saturday Serbia will welcome Portugal in the group's closer in Novi Sad.

Portugal vs. Romania 24:35 (13:20)

Despite not progressing to the Olympic Games, Romania gave a strong display against Portugal. With this victory on the road, Radu Voina`s team has earned itself an EHF EURO berth.

The game was already decided after 30 minutes with a clear half-time lead. Portugal were unable to cope with the strong and fast attacks of the Romanians, so they had to bid farewell to their oranje dreams.

For Romania, the game against Greece this coming weekend will be the last match for coach Radu Voina. After it he`ll retire from the national team and a new era will begin. 

Group 3

Poland vs. Russia 30:22 (15:14)

Poland caused a sensation by beating Russia on home soil, so their chances of advancing to the EHF EURO are maintained. The team needs to win Sunday's match against Montenegro by at least six goals.

Russia arrived from Denmark after a super, strong performance delivered at the Olympic Qualification Tournament, but they underestimated coach Kim Rasmussen's Polish team that was 'on fire' from the beginning.

With a storming start of 2:0 and 5:2 the Polish players showed their strong will today. The Russians were not effective in attack and had huge problems overcoming the marvelous Izabelę Czarną in the Polish goal. 

Poland continued to impress with 9:5, but the Russians started to wake up from their dreams and tied the result in the 23rd minute, meaning that things started from scratch again. 

The two sides continued on eye level with the lead changing hands several times, and after 45 minutes the scoreboard showed a 21:20 lead for Poland.

Then the hosts marched on thanks to goals by Karolina Kudlacz and with their storming performance coach Evgeny Trefilov's side was unable to respond. Poland succeeded in everything and goalkeeper Czarną stood rock-solid between the sticks.

The Sbornaja collapsed and seemed demoralised. The Russian strikers failed in their attacks, and so the hosts celebrated a totally deserved big win.

Great Britain vs. Montenegro 22:37 (12:14)

Big smiles on Montenegrin faces after their victory in the Crystal Place Sports Centre, as the Eastern Europeans defeated the hosts in front of a big crowd in London.

The Montenegrins were supported by hundreds of local fans who brought flags to cheer for their compatriots.

Great Britain also welcomed a large number of supporters to the arena, where the hosts displayed an excellent game in the first period, and hopefully, they can build upon this in the future.

Throughout the whole first period the game seemed to be open with some super handball from the Great Britain side, five goals of Montenegro  though, gave coach Drazan Adžić`s team the lead again.

Great Britain's Lyn Byl scored three times, and so the difference between the two teams was only two goals after 30 minutes.

In the second half, more errors occurred on the GB side, and Adžić`s team used each of these mistakes for quick counter attacks and easy goals.

Nevertheless, Great Britain will stick to their program as preparation for the Olympic Games, and will hope to play more open and even games with the opponents in the group.

Group 4

Turkey vs. France 23:36 (13:14)

After a delayed departure to Turkey, France seemingly overslept in the first half, but woke up in the second to celebrate a massive victory and EHF EURO qualification.

Credited with a one goal lead at half-time, the French team regained their composure and scored at will afterwards. A solid defence helped them to be more effective than on Sunday in the Olympic Qualification Tournament closer against Montenegro, and with a storming 7:0 in the second period, the French ladies made clear their position on the European Handball map.

In the group's final match on Sunday, they`ll welcome Lithuania in Nantes before starting their preparations for the Olympic Games on 18th June in Capbreton.

Lithuania vs. FYR Macedonia 24:32 (14:14)

Lithuanian dreams are over as the national team bid farewell to the EHF EURO after a clear home defeat against FYR Macedonia.

The Macedonians improved their performance level after an even first half, dominated the second, and showed an enthusiastic performance.

Their massive victory was fuelled by their great desire to earn an EHF EURO berth. The Macedonians have two points more in the bank than Turkey, but a slim Turkish victory in the last round in Skopje could destroy their dreams of the Netherlands this coming weekend.

Group 5

Czech Republic vs. Austria 28:22 (16:11)

No surprise in this duel, as the Czech Republic continues to impress and Austria are unable to celebrate their first victory in the EHF EURO qualifications.

The match had already been pre-decided in the early phase with the hosts storming to a 5:1 lead that resulted in a time out for the Austrians. 

Not much worked for the away side, as the Czech defence stood rock-solid, and after 20 minutes the scoreboard showed an 11:6 lead that the hosts maintained to the second half.

In the second period Austria started an energy sapping catch-up phase and succeeded in coming as close as 16:13 and 18:17. 

The Austrians were unable to level the score though, and with another Czech goal, the hosts' confidence returned and within minutes they increased their lead to 24:17 to pre-decide the game.

Group 6

Slovakia vs. Denmark 18:24 (5:12)

Danish coach Jan Pytlick left several of his key players at home, while still hoping for an away victory. His shuffled team did not let him down, and managed a clear victory over Slovakia, thereby securing an EHF EURO berth.

Both teams put up a strong defence, with the first goal being scored only after six minutes. Denmark had the better beginning with a 4:1 lead. With a catch-up to 4:3 all bullets had been shot from the hosts, as Danish goalkeeper Christina Pedersen shut the gate completely.

Rapid fast breaks and quick moving attacks meant easy goals for the away side and a clear lead for Denmark after a real handball craft demonstration. 

After the break, the Slovaks tried to come back to the match, added some more emphasis to their game and reduced the gap to 13:17. 

Denmark, however, used every possible chance to start counter attacks and quickly increased the difference to six goals again and controlled the remaining minutes for a well-deserved victory.

Italy vs. Croatia 12:34 (7:19)

The Croatian women`s handball team achieved another success, and a new victory, after securing an Olympic Games berth in Spain last weekend.

The girls of coach Vladimir Canjuga were convincing in their fifth round match of the EHF EURO qualifications and outclassed their Italian hosts by 22 goals.

The Croatians played a fantastic defence, allowing the hosts to score only five goals in the second period. 

Although the team had already qualified for the EHF EURO, Croatia were aiming for clear victories and 100% commitment in their remaining games. 

The last duel comes up on home soil on Sunday against Slovakia whose own EHF EURO dreams were wrecked by Denmark earlier today.

Group 7

Iceland vs. Spain 21:18 (8:10)

A highly entertaining thriller ended with a three-goal victory for the hosts, so Iceland maintained their chance to qualify for the EHF EURO 2012. Spain will earn a berth if the Spaniards beat Switzerland this coming weekend.

The Spanish players dominated the first half, leading by 2-3 goals, but the Vikings showed a strong performance. 

The hosts had no luck though against a strongly performing Silvia Navarro in the Spanish goal.

Iceland emerged more motivated from the cabins and with the desire to win, and they produced five straight goals, turned the match and left Spain shocked and without reply. Macarena Aguilar and her team-mates were unable to score for six minutes.

The second half provided a fantastic clash, where both sides showed a superb performance.

In the thrilling finale, the hosts were luckier, and with a last second goal, clinched the match by three goals.

Two games will follow tomorrow (31 May) to complete Round 5. 

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

Round 5, Day 2: 31 May 2012

Group 5

Slovenia vs. Sweden
Velenje, 18:00 hrs (local time)

Group 7

Switzerland vs. Ukraine
Kloten, 19:30 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.
http://www.facebook.com/EHFEUROWomen


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
 
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