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04.06.2012, 00:42
FYR Macedonia wins decisive duel and qualifies for EHF EURO.
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Montenegro, Russia and Ukraine are all through to the women's EHF EURO 2012 tournament
 

FYR Macedonia wins decisive duel and qualifies for EHF EURO

Round 6, Day 2: 3 June 2012

Group 1

Hungary vs. Belarus 28:21 (14:10)

This was goalkeeper Katalin Pálinger's farewell match in the Hungarian National Team and so for this historic moment, her and her team-mates closed the EHF EURO qualification phase with a victory, finishing in second place in the group behind Germany.

With the leadership of Anita Görbicz and Zsuzsanna Tomori, Hungary controlled the match from the very beginning, and coach Karl-Erik Bøhn rotated the team quite often to give playing time to each of his players.

Everything clicked in the Hungarian attacks, so the hosts were already ahead by five goals after 23 minutes.

In the second half Belarus showed their strength and closed up, but with goalkeeper Èva Kiss Hungary stood solid in defence and the difference between the two sides increased to six goals.

However, the Belarussian players didn't give up but fought hard to reduce the difference to only three goals.

For the last 15 minutes it was again the retiring Katalin Pálinger who stood between the Hungarian posts, and thanks to her marvelous saves, Hungary celebrated a massive seven-goal victory.

Germany vs. Azerbaijan 35:21 (14:7)

With a home victory over Azerbaijan Germany successfully defended first position in the group and will have a good pot position ahead of the Wednesday draw in Rotterdam.

In this last round game, coach Heine Jensen trusted his gifted young players, so a very youthful team started, with Maike Schirmer, Evgenija Minevskaja, and Ann-Cathrin Giegerich all debuting in the German jersey.

Despite Azerbaijan being not-so-strong opponents, the first 20 minutes looked like a rollercoaster for the hosts, who had several errors in their game plan, especially in attack. Only after a Jensen time-out at the score of 8:5 could his side increase the tempo and with more focused play, Germany established a massive lead at the half-time buzzer.

The German pressure became higher as they acted more intensely in the second half and so after 41 minutes the hosts were already ahead by 11 goals. 

Fast-paced game play and quick attacks were efficiently converted into German goals, so Jensen`s team won easily and finished on top of the group, whilst Azerbaijan is without points after the six rounds.

Group 3

Russia vs. Great Britain 31:22 (16:11)

After the massive failure of coach Evgeny Trefilov's team in Poland, Russia needed a win to qualify for the EHF EURO and the Sbornaja celebrated victory over Great Britain to earn a berth for the December championship.

Just as in their midweek duel against Montenegro, the GB team showed a strong performance, especially in defence, with Sarah Hargreaves making some great saves. 

Despite finishing bottom in the group, Great Britain have shown clear development in the last year and can stand their ground against quality opponents such as Russia and Montenegro. The GB team will continue their Olympic Games preparations and will look forward to playing further games against quality opponents in London.

Montenengro - Poland 32:23 (15:13)

With their surprise victory over Russia in midweek, Poland had a slim possibility to earn an EHF EURO berth, but for this, they needed a six-goal victory at least on the road against Montengro.

Montenegro, with the main core of EHF Women's Champions League winners Buducnost, were quoted as clear favourites, but despite being underdogs, Poland tried to give their utmost to take advantage of their slim chance of progressing to the tournament in Deceomber.

The Polish players did quite well in the first half and throughout the early phase of the second period, when they were head-to-head with the Montenegrins, but then the hosts went ahead by a few goals.

Towards the final stage of the match, when it was impossible for Poland to qualify, they surrendered and Montenegro showed top shape and won clearly to go through as group leader, ahead of Russia.

Group 4

France vs. Lithuania 38:26 (19:14)

Already qualified for the EHF EURO 2012, France met Lithuania to complete the season with a positive result. 

Despite a mediocre first half, the team of Olivier Krumbholz showed its strength, its bench, and its ability to dominate without worrying about their opponents in the second period.

After an extremely busy year France will start its Olympic Games preparations on 18th June in Capbreton.

Olivier Krumbholz: "We were a little soft in defence in the first half, and in attack we faced a rough opponent. But there were many beautiful things in the second period, where France were true to themselves, and played brilliantly."

FYR Macedonia - Turkey 26:24 (13:12)

It was an ’either or’ situation for both teams, as a victory could have seen either of them go through to the EHF EURO.

The hosts were hoping for some great backing from their fantastic fans in the Kale Arena, whilst Turkey aimed for a surprise victory in Skopje, and with this, EHF EURO qualification.

As expected the game was tight from start to finish, with FYR Macedonia leading most of the time, but with Turkey just a little behind.

In the second half Turkey went all-out and turned the result for a few minutes, but the Macedonians fought back with big heart and at the end won this hot clash, progressing to the prestigious tournament in December.

Group 6

Croatia vs. Slovakia 26:20 (18:12)

Nothing was at stake in Novigrad, where Croatia clashed with Slovakia. The Croatians are the only team reaching the EHF EURO with maximum points, whilst Slovakia bid farewell to the Netherlands and the qualification, finishing third in the group.

The hosts showed their supremacy in the first half, building a clear lead minute-by-minute, and reaching a six-goal advantage after 30 minutes that Andrea Penezic and her team-mates maintained till the final whistle.

Group 7

Ukraine vs. Iceland 22:20 (15:11)

After their home victory against Spain, the Vikings were hoping to defeat Ukraine as well which could have meant an EHF EURO berth for them. Instead, the east-Europeans showed their strength and with a two-goal victory, finished in first position in the group, thereby destroying Icelandic dreams of participating at the tournament in the Netherlands.

Thanks to a strong and aggressive 6:0 defensive formation the hosts disturbed the Icelandic attacks well and so Ukraine pre-decided the match in the first half, already leading 13:7. 

The Vikings didn't find a good solution for the Ukrainian defence, but made a good period at the end of the first half to reduce the difference to only three goals.

The Icelandic team emerged from the cabins with full determination and the will to turn the match and so, halfway through the second half, the difference dissolved to a single goal. But then Ukraine dug-in and won by 22:20.

The draw for EHF EURO 2012 is to be announced.
 

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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