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22.10.2013, 13:32
Historic comebacks for Trefilov and Norway
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ROUND PREVIEW: Qualification Round 1 for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 starts with eight matches on Wednesday. Live-ticker for all matches, six games on ehfTV
 

Historic comebacks for Norway and Trefilov

The road to the Women's EHF EURO 2014 starts here: 24 matches over four days from Wednesday, 23 October, to Sunday, 27 October, will mark the beginning of the qualification for the final tournament in Hungary and Croatia in December next year.

As the joint hosts are directly qualified, 26 teams overall seeded in seven groups of either four or three teams each vie for 14 remaining spots at the European Handball Federation's national team flagship event.

The two top ranked teams of each group will qualify for the EHF EURO 2014.

Six qualification rounds will be played until June 2014, the first round throws off eight matches on Wednesday which included the appearances of  EHF EURO 2012 champions, Montenegro, and current world and Olympic and champions, Norway. This round will be completed with another four matches on Thursday.

Round 2 will be played on Saturday and Sunday, while Rounds 3 and 4 take place at the end of March 2014. The final two rounds are scheduled for June 2014.

Handball fans have the opportunity to follow the action very closely. There will be live-ticker available for all matches and furthermore six matches will be broadcast on the EHF's designated online TV platform, ehfTV.com.

The schedule is as follows

  • Group 5: Sweden vs. Slovenia, 23 October 2013 at 19:15 hrs.
  • Group 7: Germany vs. Russia, 23 October 2013 at 19.30 hrs
  • Group 2: France vs. Slovakia, 24 October 2013 at 19:15 hrs.
  • Group 1: Denmark vs. Austria, 24 October 2013 at 21:00 hrs.
  • Group 6: Norway vs. Romania, 27 October 2013 at 16:15 hrs.
  • Group 7: Russia vs. Germany, 27 October 2013 at 18:00 hrs.

All matches will be available on demand afterwards. Geo-blocking might apply in certain markets. Please note that all times are local.

Many matches will furthermore be broadcast in the respective nations facing each other. The TV schedule for Rounds 1 and 2 can be downloaded here.

Group 2: Iceland vs. Finland, Wednesday, 19:30 hrs. local time in Reykjavik

Iceland are the favourites in this Nordic duel because of their bigger international experience. Finland are in the process of buildung a women's team that can stand its ground against stronger opposition and are likely to use the qualification matches to gain more experience on the European level.

Group 3: Montenegro vs. Poland, Wednesday, 18:00 local time in Podgorica

This top duel of the first round will potentially mark an early decision about which team is going to occupy the top spot in Group 3. EHF EURO 2012 champions Montenegro bring nearly the same squad to the court that won the final tournament in Serbia.

Poland have clearly improved in the recent past and qualified for the World Championship 2013 by beating Sweden in European play-offs.

The statistical odds are clearly in Montenegro's favour: Both teams met in the qualification for the EHF EURO 2012 as well for the EHF EURO 2010 and Montenegro had the upper hand in all four matches.

Group 3: Czech Republic vs. Portugal, Wednesday, 18:00 local time in Most

After a comparably easy run in the European play-offs for the World Championship 2013 (29:17 and 26:21 against Iceland), Czech Republic are likely to fight with Poland for the second spot in this group. Therefore an pening victory against the internationally less experienced team from Portugal is a must.

Group 4: Netherlands vs. Italy, Wednesday, 19:30 local time in Rotterdam

The roles in this match are also clearly defined: After having beaten Russia in the European play-offs for the World Championship 2013 Netherlands are full of confidence despite the absence of their prolific scorer Lois Abbingh.

Italy, currently in the process of building a competitive team which is able to vie for a spot at the 2016 Olympic Games, are the clear underdogs in this match.

Group 5: Serbia vs. Switzerland, Wednesday, 18:00 local time in Vrnjacka Banja

'Making the first steps towards the EHF EURO 2014 while also preparing for the World Championship 2013 on home court' is the motto for Serbia ahead of their first two qualification match.

Head Coach Sasa Boskovic can count on all stars who want to win a medal in December. Swiss coach Jesper Holmris is rejuvenating his team focusing on its long-term perspective, therefore at the moment Serbia are likely to be too strong for his squad.

Group 5: Sweden vs. Slovenia, Wednesday, 19:15 local time in Helsingborg

After missing the World Championship 2013 in Serbia, Sweden hope for a successful start to their EHF EURO 2014 campaign. On home court they are arguably the favourites against Slovenia which have less international experience.

However, Slovenia's confidence is likely to be boosted by the return of head coach Marta Bon following a coaching stint in Switzerland.

Group 6: Romania vs. Norway, Wednesday, 18:00 local time in Oradea

This second top match of the qualification's first round marks an almost historic day. For the first time since 2002 (when they beat Lithuania in the play-offs) Norway play a qualification match for a Women’s EHF EURO event.

Ever since the team had always qualified directly, four times as defending champions. So it is a new experience - and the hurdle, straight away, is high.

As Romania's head coach Gheorghe Tadici has an almost full selection of top stars at his disposal, the 2010 EHF EURO bronze medallists are aiming to start successful.

Already on Sunday both teams face for the re-match in Norway.

Group 7: Germany vs. Russia; Wednesday, 19:30 local time in Trier

Welcome back on the handball stage, Evgeny Trefilov! Following an one-year absence the legendary coach gives his comeback on the Russian bench.

He succeeded Vitaly Krokhin last month after Krokhin, who had only succeeded Trefilov in the autumn of 2012, failed to lead the team to the World Championship 2013.

Trefilov tarted his campaign with a 13-day preparation camp for the matches against Germany on Wednesday and Sunday.

Hosts Germany will miss four key players due to pregnancy (Katja Schülke, Isabell Klein) or injury (Nadja Nadgornaja, Kim Naidzinavicius).


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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