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04.04.2013, 23:12
Clear home defeats for Great Britain and Ireland
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Belgium and Italy remain in the race for the group victories in the first EHF EURO 2016 qualification phase
 

Clear home defeats for Great Britain and Ireland

After Cyprus had beaten Luxemburg on Wednesday, round 3 of the first stage of the Men’s EHF EURO 2016 qualification came to an end on Thursday with home defeats for Great Britain and Ireland.

Round 4 will be played on Saturday and Sunday, and again Luxemburg, Ireland and Great Britain will be the hosting nations.

Only the three group winners from this phase will progress to a knock-out phase where they will meet the three lowest ranked fourth placed teams from EHF EURO 2014 Qualification Phase 2 in two play-off matches, home and away, on 2/3 April 2014 and 5/6 April 2014.

The winners of these play-off matches will join the already qualified remaining participants for the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Phase 2.

An overview of the all EHF EURO 2016 qualification matches can be found here.

Group B: Great Britain – Italy 23:47 (13:24)

The British team was taught a handball lesson by Italy.

In contrast to their close duel one year ago when Italy beat the Bristish squad 29:26 in the EHF EURO 2014 qualification phase 1, the Olympic participants this time were without a chance.

Italy took their first two points and now rank two points behind topper Greece, that will face Great Britain on Sunday in London.

Olympic hero Steven Larsson was the best British scorer with seven goals in a very one-sided match, while five Italian players scored five or more goals, with Michele Skatar (9 goals) being the top scorer.

From the middle of the first half onwards, Italy were clearly dominant and had decided the encounter already at the break when the score stood at 24:13 in their favour.

Group C: Ireland – Belgium 12:28 (8:11)

The 22:22 in a test match on Monday, 2 April, was a good rehearsal for Cyprus and Belgium – as both teams took away victories in their EHF EURO 2016 qualification matches.

While Cyprus recorded only a narrow victory against Luxemburg on Wednesday, Belgium left Ireland without a chance in Dublin.

But the Irish team, coached by former FC Barcelona legend Tony Gerona, showed their best half-time ever in an EHF EURO qualification in their first ever home match in this kind of qualification.

Led by Staffan Meyer (Irish top scorer with five goals) the hosts were on eye level against a Belgian side which has much more international experience.

But after the break Ireland lacked power and concentration and scored only three goals, while Belgium forged ahead easily to a 16-goal margin in the end.

Top scorer of the match was Thomas Cauwenberghs with nine goals.

But the improvement for Ireland was even visible in the final result, as they were defeated 11:40 in the last encounter against Belgium one year ago.

The Irish team will host Estonia on Sunday, while Belgium will fight in their two last encounters in June to move past Estonia (4 points) in the final ranking.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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