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12.06.2013, 23:37
Montenegro, Croatia and Poland make it to Denmark 2014, while Germany might miss out
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EHF EURO 2014 qualification summary part 4: Following a 25:27 loss against Montenegro, Germany are on the edge of missing the first final tournament in EHF EURO history
 

Montenegro, Croatia and Poland make it to Denmark 2014, while Germany might miss out

Montenegro arguably sprung the biggest surprise in the fifth round of the EHF EURO 2014.

They beat Germany 27:25, securing themselves the ticket to the final tournament in Denmark and pushing their opponents to the edge of elimination.

At the same time as Montenegro, Croatia (by beating Slovakia) and Poland (by beating Netherlands) booked their tickets to the European Championship.

Group 1: Portugal vs. Spain 23:30 (12:14)

Even though they had already qualified for the EHF EURO 2014 and were confirmed group winners, Spain took the duel against their Portuguese neighbours seriously, presenting a victory to their new coach Manolo Cadenas and keeping a clean record after five matches.

Portugal (with five points) are still in the race for Denmark, but they need at least a draw against FYR Macedonia on Sunday to proceed to the final tournament.

After an even first half, Portugal could hope for the point they needed for an early qualification until the score of 18:21 in the 47th minute, but then the world champion decided the match by a 5:1 series in their favour.

In the 53rd minute margin stood at seven goals for the first time – and remained like that until the end.

Best scorers were Raul Entrerrios (Spain, 7 goals) and Pedro Alberto Silva and Pedro Spinola (five goals each for Portugal).

Group 1: Switzerland vs. FYR Macedonia 22:27 (11:12)

FYR Macedonia did everything they could to keep their hopes alive for a spot at the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark.

With four points in their account, the team of coach Ivica Obrvan might still be in the race before they host Portugal in the final match on Sunday (16 June).

Switzerland, which had been eliminated already before the match, still wait for their first victory in this qualification.

Backed by more than 500 vociferous spectators in Zurich, FYR Macedonia needed a long time to decide the match in their favour.

Following a close first half, it were the eight goals of Naumce Mojsovski and the six strikes of Kiril Lazarov that made them celebrate in the end.

Switzerland, boosted by the saves of goalkeeper Remo Quadrelli, tried to fight back, and reduced the gap from 15:20 to 21:24 in the 57th minute, but in the end the bigger Macedonian experience decided the match.

Group 2: Israel vs. Czech Republic 24:30 (11:13)

As in all their previous matches, Israel stood strong for a long time, but left the court empty-handed for the fourth time and are therefore out of the race for the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark.

Czech Republic, who had to replace injured top star Filip Jicha, took two crucial points which bring them close to qualifying for the final tournament.

Because of the German defeat against Montenegro, Czech Republic (currently with six points) only need a draw in their match against Montenegro on Saturday (15 June) to qualify.

Israel were led by ten-times scorer Chan Pomeranz and were on eye level with their opponents until the 50th minute, when the score stood at 24:21 in Czech Republic's favour.

But in the end the team of coach Dragan Djukic lacked the power and freshness in the final stages, allowing Czech Republic to score the decisive goals.

Their best scorer was Jan Sobol with five goals.

Group 2: Montenegro vs. Germany 27:25 (13:11)

Montenegro sensationally qualified for the EHF EURO 2014 and pushed Germany to the edge of elimination.

Being currently on eight points, Montenegro will at least occupy the second rank in group 2 at the end and can even secure the top spot, should they take home at least one point from their match against Czech Republic on Saturday (15 June).

Germany, on the other hand and with just four points, are close to missing out on the EHF EURO 2014.

They can only make it to Denmark, if they beat Israel and Montenegro beat Czech Republic on Saturday (15 June), because Germany have won the direct encounter against Czech Republic by aggregate goals.

Germany, that have never missed an EHF EURO tournament to date, committed too many mistakes and missed too many chances in the first half.

When the guests led 11:9 , Montenegrin coach Zoran Kastratovic took a timeout and his team managed to turn the match around.

Montenegro scored four straight goals and never gave the lead from their hands afterwards.

A timeout when the score at stood at 20:16 for Montenegro only brought intermediate hopes for Germany as they closed the gap to 19:20, but then they failed too often against strong Montenegrin goalkeeper Rade Mijatovic.

The match was decided when Ivan Perisic scored to make it 26:22 for the hosts.

Best scorers were Nemanja Grbovic (7 goals for the host) and Stefan Kneer and Patrick Wiencek, who scored each four times for Germany.

Group 4: Slovakia vs. Croatia 21:32 (11:21)

After five rounds everything is decided in group 4: Like Hungary a few hours earlier, Croatia qualified for the EHF EURO 2014, also taking the lead in this group with eight points, one point ahead of Hungary.

After just eleven minutes the winner of the match was virtually confirmed, as Croatia forged ahead to a 11:3 lead.

At 19:9 the result was double-figured for the first time and from that moment onwards the guests easily controlled the one-sided match without having to give all they had.

The smallest gap in the second half were eight goals when the score stood at 18:26, but in the end Croatia were ahead by eleven goals.

They now only need a draw on home court against Latvia to finish the group on top.

Best scorers were Manuel Strlek (Croatia) with seven goals from seven attempts, and Martin Stranovsky (Slovakia) with six strikes.

Group 5: Netherlands vs. Poland 23:30 (11:13)

As expected the two powerhouses, Sweden and Poland, have made their way to Denmark from the four teams in group 5.

Both have eight points each in their account, both confidently won their away matches on Wednesday.

If both teams end up equal in points, Sweden are the group winners, as they have won the direct encounter by aggregate goals.

In the match against Netherlands, ten goals of Patrick Kuchczynski paved the way for the dominant Polish team, which took full control after the break.

By scoring a brilliant 8:1 series to make it 21:12 they decided the match early in their favour.

Netherlands only managed to reduce the gap in the final stages, when Polish coach Michael Biegler gave playing time to all of his squad.

Best Dutch scorer was Nick Verjans with six goals.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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