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05.01.2014, 23:09
Wheat and chaff get separated in World Championship Qualification
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ROUND REVIEW: Round 4 of the Qualification Europe for the World Championship 2015 in Qatar concluded on Sunday with eight matches being played
 

Wheat and chaff get separated in World Championship Qualification

After four of six rounds have been played in the Qualification Europe for the World Championship 2015 in Qatar there are still at least two teams left in each group that can potentially qualify for the next stage, the European play-offs.

On Sunday another eight matches were played which concluded the fourth round.

After Lithuania had beaten Finland 24:23 on Saturday in Group 1, Georgia followed suit on Sunday and beat Turkey 33:26.

With second ranked Georgia (four points) facing first-ranked Lithuania (seven points) on 8 January, this group can be decided in the next round.

If Lithuania claim at least one point they are through to the play-offs.

Only the five group winners advance to this stage where they meet 12 participants of the EHF EURO 2014 plus Germany to eventually decide nine European participants for the World Championship 2015.

Narrow encounters in Groups 2 and 3

Romania kept their clear record in Group 2, however, the 31:30 victory against Cyprus in Nicosia, Romania's fourth in the qualification, was a hotly contested one.

Cyprus led 16:15 at half-time, kept the match open until the dying seconds and only a penalty, converted by Aurel Gabriel Florea with 11 seconds left on the clock gave Romania the victory.

This group is likely to be decided in Round 6 when Romania face second-ranked Slovakia (six points) on 11 January. In the first leg Romania took home a convincing 32:24 victory.

In Group 3 Ukraine kept the top spot with now seven points by beating Switzerland 32:31. The match in Schaffhausen was as narrow as the Cyprus-Romania encounter with Switzerland giving away a four-goal lead (25:21) they enjoyed mid-way through the second half.

However, the unstoppable Onufryienko, who scored ten goals, proved to be the decisive difference.

Slovenia beat Luxembourg 37:26 in the second match in this group and are now ranked second with six points. Slovenia face Ukraine on home court in Round 6 on 12 January.

Different situations in Groups 4 and 5

After all teams in Group 4 had been equal with two points each after two rounds, the situation has not changed after four rounds have been played apart from the fact that all teams now have four points on their respective accounts.

On Sunday Netherlands beat Belgium 27:21 and Greece beat Israel 31:28 in this group in which nothing has been decided.

Quite to the contrary, Bosnia and Herzegovina only need one more point in Group 5 to advance to the play-offs. They beat Latvia 23:21 to record their fourth straight win.

Second-ranked Portugal beat Estonia 35:27, however, as they only have four points a small miracle is needed if they want to be the team to advance to the play-offs.

Rounds 5 and 6 will be played between 8 and 12 January 2014. The EHF live ticker will be available for all matches.


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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