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25.10.2013, 14:16
Russia and Romania are out for revenge
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ROUND PREVIEW: Round 2 of the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 Qualification will be played on Saturday and Sunday with 12 matches across Europe
 

Russia and Romania are out for revenge

Eleven home victories, no draw and Norway as the only winners of an away match – this was the outcome of Round 1 of the qualification for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014.

But the 24 teams, that played this week, have no rest, as Round 2 already throws off this weekend (26/27 October).

The round starts with the match Italy vs. Spain on Saturday and includes the straight re-matches of those teams of Groups 6 and 7, who already faced each other on Wednesday - Norway vs. Romania and Russia vs. Germany.

An interesting fact from the five remaining groups: None of the ten matches to be played includes a duel of two winners from Round 1.

As the joint hosts of the final tournament 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.

Handball fans have the opportunity to follow the action very closely. There will be live-ticker available for all matches and after four matches have already been broadcast another two will be shown on the EHF's designated online TV platform, ehfTV.com on Sunday.

The schedule is as follows

  • 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.

For more information, photos and videos also become a fan of the EHF EURO Facebook Page.

Group 1: Lithuania vs. Denmark; Sunday, 18:00 hrs. local times in Panevezys

Spurred on by 14 goals of the outstanding Laima Bernataviciute, Lithuania were close to a surprise in their away match against Ukraine, but lost 27:30 in the end.

On Sunday their task will be even harder against three-times Olympic champions Denmark. Playing as if they were on fire  for the entire match, Denmark won their first match against Austria 42:27.

Should Lithuania fail in avoiding the Danish counter-attacks, a similar fate might await them.

Group 1: Austria vs. Ukraine; Sunday, 20:25 hrs. local times in Krems an der Donau

Will Austria be able to improve their defence after their 27:42 loss against Denmark? This might be the decisive question in this duel of two main contenders for the second spot in this group.

Ukraine stumbled but did not fall against Lithuania and can count on the prowess of their top shooters Irina Glibko and Iuliia Managarova, who netted ten times each in the opening match.

If Austria want to remain in the race for the final tournament Hungary and Croatia, they need to win their home matches against Ukraine and Lithuania – so a thrilling and crucial game can be expected.

Group 2: Slovakia vs. Iceland; Sunday, 17:00 hrs. local times in Sala

Slovakia's hopes are high to win their first two points after they lost 18:25 against France on Thursday.

Courtesy of their home advantage the hosts are in the favourites' role, and their neighbours from Czech Republic might be a role model on how to beat Iceland as the Czech squad won against Iceland in the World Championship 2013 Play-offs in June.

The visiting team had no problems taking their first two points in their opening match against Finland on Wednesday.

Group 2: Finland vs. France; Sunday, 18:30 hrs. local times in Vantaa

On their way to improve on international level, Finland face the huge challenge of hosting the 2003 world champions on Sunday.

Following their clear defeat against Iceland, Finland are even more in the underdogs' role against France which played a successful opener against Slovakia courtesy of their strong defence.

Group 3: Portugal vs. Montenegro; Sunday, 15:00 hrs. local times in Coimbra

A trip far west with the clear goal to win the second straight EHF EURO qualifier - this is the motto of defending champions, Montenegro.

Thanks to the eleven goals of their top star Katarina Bulatovic they beat Poland on Wednesday, and Portugal are an arguably weaker team that was left without a chance in its first match against Czech Republic.

Group 3: Poland vs. Czech Republic; Sunday, 17:30 hrs. local times in Lublin

This duel including its re-match in June next year is thought to be the battle for the second ticket of this group to the EHF EURO 2014.

Therefore every goal that is scored in Lublin might be decisive.

Poland, who fought bravely but unsuccessful in Podgorica against Montenegro on Wednesday, count on their frenetic fans while Czech Republic's morale will be boosted by the clear win against Portugal.

The match is supposed to be open with some advantages for Poland courtesy of the home advantage.

Group 4: Italy vs. Spain; Saturday, 20:00 hrs. local times in Pescara

Even though they play on home court Italy are nothing but the underdogs against the 2012 Olympic bronze medallists from Spain.

The roles are clearly marked in this uneven duel. Italy stood strong for 30 minutes against the Netherlands, but then hardly managed to score in the second half, while Spain overran Turkey 28:11 in their opener.

Group 4: Turkey vs. Netherlands; Sunday, 18:00 hrs. local times in Cankaya

Like Spain, Netherlands can make a major step towards the EHF EURO 2014.

After they had problems in the first half against Italy, they beat their opponents 28:13 in the end.

Turkey lost 11:28 against Spain and it is unlikely that they will have a chance against Netherlands.

Group 5: Switzerland vs. Sweden; Sunday, 15:30 hrs. local times in Zürich

Can Danish-born Jesper Holmris, head coach of Switzerland, come up with the right ideas to spring a surprise against Sweden?

This will be the hope of Swiss handball fans in Zürich after their team lost its opening match against Serbia 21:32.

But despite these hopes the hosts are again the underdogs against the a much more experienced Swedish side.

Group 5: Slovenia vs. Serbia; Sunday, 18:00 hrs. local times in Ljubljana

If Serbia keep their form from the victory against Switzerland, they are in the favourites' role also in Ljubljana where they face Slovenia.

The Slovenian team stood strong against Sweden, but lost 25:30 in the end.

A home victory would bring new tension and thrill to this group.

Should Serbia win, Slovenia would already stand with their backs against the wall.

Group 6: Norway vs. Romania; Sunday, 16:15 hrs. local times in Bergen

Can Norway bring this group to an early decision with regards to the qualifying spots for the EHF EURO 2014? After their close away win (25:23), they are the favourites on home court.

Romania might have learnt their lesson that they have to avoid the Norwegian counter-attacks and that they have to be more efficient in attack to be successful.

But as both teams are supposed to be the favourites against Belarus, even a second defeat would not mean an early end to the Romanian hopes to make it to the EHF EURO 2014.

Group 7: Russia vs. Germany; Sunday, 18:00 hrs. local times in Astrakhan

How will Russia and especially coaching legend Evgeny Trefilow react to the 27:32 defeat against Germany on Wednesday?

This is the main question before the re-match throws off in Astrakhan on Sunday.

Russia need to win to get level pointwise with Germany before both teams face FYR Macedonia in March (Russia) or June (Germany).

Should Germany also win the second leg, they would push the gate to the EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia wide open.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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