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27.10.2013, 20:56
Slovenia cause sensation against Serbia, while Czech Republic and Slovakia take home crucial wins
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ROUND REVIEW – part 2: Denmark, France and Netherlands remain with a clear record after two rounds have been played in Women's EHF EURo 2014 Qualification
 

Slovenia cause sensation against Serbia, while Czech Republic and Slovakia take crucial wins

While Denmark, France, Czech Republic and Netherlands made major steps towards the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 in Croatia and Hungary by remaining with a clear record after two qualification rounds, Slovenia caused the major sensation on Sunday by beating EHF EURO 2012 semi-finalists Serbia.

In the duel for the second spot in Group 2 Slovakia took home a crucial win against Iceland.

Group 1: Lithuania vs. Denmark 31:38 (12:21)

Denmark remain the 'goal machine' in this EHF EURO 2014 qualification.

After having scored 42 goals against Austria on Thursday, the team of coach Jan Pytlick netted 38 times against Lithuania on Sunday.

With the maximum of four points after two matches, Denmark top the table in Group 1 and confidently assumed the favourites' role.

At the end of the match all Danish field players had put their name on the scorer list, a tell-tale sign how well-balanced the young team already is.

Denmark's top scorers were Camilla Dalby and Louise Burgaard, hitting the net five times each.

Best scorer for Lithuania, that remain on zero points, was Diana Satkauskaite with nine strikes.

After only eleven minutes had been played, the gap already stood at seven goals as Burgaard scored to make it 11:4.

And courtesy of their efficient counter-attack Denmark easily forged ahead to an already decisive double-figured goal distance of 21:11 right before the break.

Pytlick started a huge rotation in the second half but his team nevertheless stayed in control of the match.

As the Danish defence did not work as efficient as before, the hosts managed to get closer, but never had any chance to turn the match around.

Group 2: Slovakia vs. Iceland 19:18 (9:9)

A double strike of wing player Lydia Jakubisova paved the way for the Slovakian triumph in this highly crucial encounter for the EHF EURO qualification.

Both teams are equal with two points each now, after Iceland had beaten Finland and Slovakia were defeated by France in Round 1.

Even seven goals of Karen Knutsdottir were not enough for the visiting team to take home at least one point – in a match in which both team's defences clearly played a bigger role compared to the respective attacks.

The first half was entirely equal and saw the lead changing constantly between the two squads. No team managed to get away by more than two goals, making the 9:9 after 30 minutes an entirely justified half-time result.

Everything remained the same after the break; still no team managed to forge ahead, the lead still changed, but in the final two minutes Jakubisova became the lucky match winner for the hosts.

Simona Szarkova was Slovakia's top scorer with five goals.

Group 2: Finland vs. France 13:27 (8:17)

As expected, France took an 'easy-going' clear second victory against Finland to top the table of Group 2 as the only team with the maximum of four points after two rounds.

Finland remain at the bottom without any point to date.

From the first to the last minute France were better in all departments, especially in defence, as they put enormous pressure on the internationally inexperienced Finnish players.

After 17 minutes when the scored stood at 11:3, the deal was virtually sealed even though the hosts intermediately improved and did not allow the French team to forge ahead to a double-figured goal gap until the 34th minute (9:19).

France's head coach Alain Portes gave playing time to his full squad after the break, while Finland struggled, lacking mainly power and concentration.

In the end the 14-goal defeat against the 2003 world champions meant an improvement for Finland compared to the 16-goal defeat they conceded against Iceland on Wednesday.

Best scorers in this one-sided match were Paule Baudouin with five goals for France and Linda Cainberg and Johanna Hilli who scored three times each for Finland.

Group 3: Poland vs. Czech Republic 19:22 (9:9)

Does this result already mean an early decision regarding these two teams' chances of clinching their berth for the EHF EURO 2014?

What is true is that Czech Republic have now built a perfect base for the rest of the qualification by taking home these two crucial points.

As Poland and Czech Republic are expected to fight for the second spot behind defending EHF EURO champions Montenegro, this result puts the Czech team in an arguably better position compared to Poland that still have zero after two rounds have been played.

In a duel of two teams which both made it to the World Championship 2013, the hosts had the better start, as they had gone ahead 6:2 after just  eleven minutes.

But Czech Republic improved and levelled the match already before the break.

A double strike of their top scorer Iveta Luzumova (who scored nine goals in total) brought the first three-goal lead at 13:10 for the Czech team which had beaten Portugal in its opening qualifier on Wednesday.

Poland entirely missed the start of the second half and scored only twice in the first eleven minutes, while their competitors marched ahead to 16:11.

This served as a wake-up call for the Polish team as it fought hard to avoid defeat.

While Czech Republic missed many chances, Poland scored a 6:0 series to put themselves back on track and to lead 17:16 in the 52th minute.

But when the score stood at 18:17 for Poland, the roller coaster changed its direction again, and Czech Republic decided the match in their favour with a 5:0 series that pushed the result to 22:18.

Best Polish scorer was Monika Stachowska with five goals.

"I'm disappointed with the performance of my girls and so are they, but we win as a team as well as we lose as a team," said Poland's coach Kim Rasmussen.

"We've had our chance, but we have made too many mistakes. Czech Republic improved in the past two years. The situation in our group has become complicated for us."

His Czech counterpart Jas Basny said: "It was a great and very tough match that had a happy end for us.

"I am proud of my team because they have improved their game and didn't give up. We knew that we weren't favourites but we did it."

Group 4: Turkey vs. Netherlands 17:32 (8:17)

After Spain had easily beaten Italy on Saturday, it was up to the Netherlands on Sunday to take their second clear win in Group 4.

Therefore the wheat has already been separated from the chaff. Two dominant teams rank above two teams with zero points in Group 4 after the first two qualification rounds have been played.

As in their clear defeat against Spain (11:28), Turkey were again without a chance – and Netherlands easily took the points.

Jessy Kramer became the Dutch top scorer with six goals, while Serpil Iskenderoglu scored five times for Turkey.

The match was virtually already decided after 15 minutes, when the Dutch team had widened the gap to seven goals at 9:2.

The goal distance increased to nine goals until the break and the first double-figured lead occurred in the 40th minute at 22:12.

Turkey lacked power, height and skills to stop the Netherlands, who played like a Swiss clockwork despite a huge number of changes after the break.

Group 5: Slovenia vs. Serbia 31:26 (16:12)

Sweden are the only team with a clear record of four points in this group after the second qualification round has been played.

Their victory against Slovenia on Wednesday looks even more precious and important after the Slovenian team sensationally beat Serbia on Sunday, which are now equal in points with the 2012 EHF EURO semi-finalists and World Championship 2013 hosts.

Serbia underestimated the hosts and did not manage to turn the match around at a later stage.

They only led at the very beginning and when the score stood at 7:7, Slovenia forged ahead with full intense, while the Serbian team missed too many chances to be able to remain on eye level.

Thanks to four consecutive goals that pushed the result to 11:7, Slovenian paved the way for the clear half-time result of 16:12.

Who thought the visiting team would arrive on court in a different way in the second half, was proven wrong.

Serbia remained weak in attack, while Slovenia made use of Serbian turnovers and scored.

At 22:15 – and after Serbia had scored only three times in 17 minutes after the break - the match was decided even though the guests improved and kept trying hard.

But Slovenia did not allow them to get any closer than four goals in the final stages of the match.

Best scorers were Tamara Mavsar (Slovenia) with six goals and Katarina Krpez with five strikes for Serbia.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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