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06.06.2012, 20:14
Baltic nations strongest in Turkey
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Estonia and Latvia expected to battle it out in Group D
 

Baltic nations expected to advance

Group D: Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Malta
Venue: Mercin, Turkey

A top duel between two top Baltic handball nations is expected to dominate Group D.

Two of the top scorers of the 2013 World Championship Qualification will go head to head; Turkey’s Ramazan Döne and Estonian Bundesliga player Mait Patrail.

None of the four teams in Group D have played in an EHF EURO final tournament before, but all have improved in recent years.

Thanks to Patrail, Estonia were close to EHF EURO 2012 but missed out losing to FYR Macedonia.

One year later they were unsuccessful once again in the 2013 World Championship pre-qualification losing to the Netherlands. In their final tests Estonia took a 32:30 victory against Finland after losing agianst the same opponent 32:37 two days before.

Latvia will be led by their 2.11 metre-tall shooter Dainis Kristopans from VELUX EHF Champions League participant Tatran Presov (Slovakia), but some stars like top scorer Girts Lilienfelds will miss the tournament due to injuries.

They lost in their 2013 World Championship play-off against Montenegro and stood no chance in the tough EHF EURO 2012 Qualification Phase 2 group of Germany, Iceland and Austria.

Turkey - host of the EHF Men’s 18 European Championship 2012 - can count on several players from Besiktas Istanbul, but missed out on EHF EURO 2012 Qualification Phase 2. "We are aiming to go for the next qualification round," coach Adnan Öztürk is confident.

Like Ireland, Malta will take on the challenge to participate for the first time ever in an EHF EURO Qualification Phase after gaining experience in competing in the IHF/EHF Challenge Trophy seven times, Andrew Mifsud  and his colleagues will relish the challenge.

EHF EURO History
Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Malta (0 appearances at EHF EUROs)


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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