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10.06.2012, 22:33
Some clear victories, some surprises
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First leg of the qualification for the 2013 Men’s World Championship in Spain finished on Sunday.
 

Some clear victories, some surprises

Iceland (against Netherlands) and Germany (against Bosnia) were the only two teams which won their first leg in the qualification play-offs for the World Championship 2013 in Spain with more than ten goals difference – and are nearly through to Spain.

Besides, Slovenia, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Poland and Hungary have best chances to qualify for the tournament, played in January.

Russia vs. - Czech Republic 23:22 (11:12)

Russia is close to their next failure: After missing the World Championship 2011 (eliminated by Romania) and missing the 2012 Olympics the team of the new head coach Oleg Kuleshow need a clear improvement in the away match in the Czech Republic next Saturday to book their ticket. In contrast the Czechs can hope for the qualification to Spain thanks to a superb performance of goalkeeper Peter Stochl and seven goals of  Pavel Horak. The Russian defenders focused on former World Handball Player Filip Jicha in an extremely defence orientated match – which gave space for the rest of the Czech team, which missed the chance to equalize with their last shot. Attended by 4000 spectators, Siarhei Harbok was Russian top scorer with five goals.

Slovenia vs. Portugal 31:26 (11:10)

It was a tough piece of work for the Slovenians to outdistance the Portuguese team with pre-decisive five goals in the end. The Iberians were on equal level until the final stage of the match and were close to level the game at the 24:25, before seven straight Slovenian goals decided the first leg. Goalkeeper Gorazd Sko (16 saves) and top scorer Jure Dolenec (eight goals) were the match winners for the host. On the other hand, Portugal showed a strong performance in defence until the final stage and before Alvaro Rodrigues (minute 50) and Davyes (53) received red cards after their third two minutes suspension. Ferraz was Portuguese top scorer with five goals.

Germany vs. Bosnia Herzegovina 36:24 (18:7)

The gate to Spain is opened widely for the Germans, who took an easily earned twelve goal difference victory against Bosnia. “It is only halftime but I have little doubts that we will not qualify for Spain,” German head coach Martin Heuberger said. After an equal start the Germans decided the game with a 9:0 series from 5:3 to 14:3 in the middle of the first half, then lacked some concentration. Nearly every German field player – except defence specialist Oliver Roggisch – was on the scorer list, with wing Uwe Gensheimer on top with eight goals. Bosnia was chanceless against the German express, especially when their top defender Terzic received an early red card in minute 29 after his third exclusion. Best Bosnian scorer in an one-sided encounter was Vrazalic with seven goals.

Slovakia vs. Belarus 24:26 (10:12)

„We lost our heads in attack, this was a huge disappointment,“ was the comment of Slovak NT coach Peter David after the unexpected home defeat. His team now need a little miracle to qualify for the World Championship in Spain. Belarus was much more clever in attack – and could count on their top star Siarhei Rutenka, who scored nine of 26 goals. Belarus was in lead most of the time and could extend the gap to decisive three goals at 22:19. “We are very satisfied, but finally this play-off will be decided in Minsk,” Belorussian coach Iouri Chevtsov is aware for the re-match. Urban, Valo and Antl were the best scorers for the host with each five goals.

FYR Macedonia vs. Austria 26:21 (16:10)

Thanks to the goals of their world class star Kiril Lazarov, FYR Macedonia have best chances to qualify for their second World Championship after 2009 in Croatia. Frenetically supported by their spectators the Balkan team had a perfect start with a 5:1. Though the Austrian defence improved the guests could not come closer than to four goals as they were weak in attack. After a six goals margin at the break the Macedonians remained dominant. Despite the final five goal gap, Austrian coach Patrekur Johanesson is still confident: “We caused too many technical mistakes, but we still have the chance to turn the page on home ground.” Santos and Szilagyi were the best Austrians with each five goals.

Lithuania vs. Poland 17:24 (9:12)

Perfect start for the new Polish duo on the bench: After Bogdan Wenta had resigned from the NT coach post after missing the Olympics, the two coaches Waszkiewicz and Wleklak now started their campaign successfully with a clear away victory in Lithuania. The Polish defence played brilliant and intercepted several times against the Lithuanians, who were chanceless even on home ground. Whilst the host was nearly on eye level before the break, the Poles took control from minute 41 and the score of 15:14 on and extended the gap to finally seven goals. Top scorer for Poland was Michal Jurecki with seven goals, Malasinskas and Strazdas scored each five times for Lithuania.

Hungary vs. Norway 27:21 (12:10)

The comeback of Laszlo Nagy was one key for the brilliant Hungarian performance. After qualifying for the Olympics, now the team of Lajos Mocsai made a huge step towards Spain. The host was in lead from minute 5 on, but could not outdistance the Norwegians until the final stage. At the score of 20:19 the Northern Europeans still could hope for a close result, but then the Hungarian counter attacks broke their necks as same as a failed penalty shot two minutes before the end. “We played well until minute 55, but then we gave the game completely from our hands,” Norwegian coach Robert Hedin said. Top scorers were Tvedten (Norway), Nagy and Csaszar (Hungary) with each six goals.

Laszlo Nagy, who plays for FC Barcelona since twelve years and had become Spanish citizen some weeks ago, had announced before the play-offs that he will return to the Hungarian team, for which he did not play since 2009.

Sweden vs. Montenegro 22:21 (12:10)

Big surprise in Stockholm: Two seconds before the final buzzer right wing Niklas Ekberg redeemed the Swedish team with the goal for the unexpected close victory. But nothing is decided before the second leg in Podgorica. Surprisingly the host was not able to continue on the performing level they had shown at the Olympics qualification, but were defended hard by the Balkan team. “We have the great chances to write history”, Montenegro coach Zoran Kastratovic said after the first leg. Both goalkeepers – Anderson (Sweden/16 saves) and Mijatovic (Montenegro/13) - were in the spotlight, whilst both attacking sides had enormous problems. Top scorers were Ekberg with nine goals for the host and Sevaljevic with seven goals for Montenegro.

Iceland vs. Netherlands 41:27 (17:14)

Like a Nordic blizzard Iceland overran the Dutch team in the second half. After the Netherlands were able to remain on nearly the same level before the break, the 2008 Olympics Silver medallist and EHF EURO 2010 Bronze medallist broke all resistance with their famous counter attacks. Those 14 goals difference mean much more than an open gate on the way to Spain.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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