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15.06.2013, 22:23
Croatia claim top spot in group 4
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Croatia, Slovakia and Norway win their final matches in the EHF EURO 2014 qualification for Denmark on Saturday (15 June)
 

Croatia claim top spot in group 4

Courtesy of a narrow victory against Latvia, Croatia claimed the top spot in group 4, while Hungary stayed second ranked despite a 30:31 loss against Slovakia.

Both teams had secured their respective berth at the final tournament already earlier in the qualification.

The same holds true for Norway who finished their campaign with a victory against Lithuania.

Group 3: Norway vs. Lithuania 34:29 (22:15)

Norwegian coach Robert Hedin was able to give some playing time to the players from the ‘second line-up’, after his team had qualified for the EHF EURO 2014 already with their win against Turkey (32:20) on Wednesday (12 June).

And those, who usually do not stand in the spotlight, grabbed their chance - like Sondre Paulsen who became the Norwegian top scorer with six goals.

The match was virtually decided at the break, when the Scandinavians had run away by seven goals.

And when Lithuanian top scorer Babarskas Povilas (7 goals) received the red card after his third suspension, the last remaining resilience was broken.

After the break the goal gap varied between five and eight goals constantly, and the Norwegian victory was never in danger.

Group 4: Croatia vs. Latvia 26:24 (17:13)

It was harder work for Croatia than expected, but finally they won and remained on the top position in group 4, claiming their fifth victory in their sixth match.

Croats had troubles coping with the Latvian game and were not able to run away by any more than a four-goal margin despite five goals of Kielce's winger Ivan Čupić.

In the second half Latvia played harder in defence and managed to close the gap before they even leveled the match at 23:23 six minutes before the final whistle.

After that Croatia’s goalkeeper Ivan Pešić made some important saves, Lovren Šprem scored two goals, so in the end the score stood at 26:24 for Croatia.

Denis Buntić, Domagoj Duvnjak and Ivan Čupić became Croatia’s top scorers with five goals each and Pešić had eleven saves on his tally.

Aivis Jurdzs and Dainis Kristopans scored four times each for Latvia. 

Group 4: Hungary vs. Slovakia 30:31 (16:15)

It was a prestigious victory, but one without relevance for the ranking of group 4.

Despite the defeat Hungary finish second in the group. The team of coach Lajos Mocsai had already clinched their berth for the EHF EURO 2014 at an earlier stage.

While top star Laszlo Nagy was absent, Gabor Czaszar became the Hungarian top scorer with seven goals - but these strikes were not enough to make their spectators celebrate in the end.

Frantisek Sulc became match winner for Slovakia, scoring eight goals.

75 seconds before the final whistle of the equal match, Barcelona left wing Martin Stranovsky scored the decisive goal for Slovakia.

When the score stood at 20:19 Slovakia had taken the lead and did not give it away from their hands until the final buzzer.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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