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12.06.2014, 22:13
Netherlands secure EHF EURO ticket, Serbia retain their hopes
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ROUND REVIEW: Beating Italy 24:20 on Thursday night, Netherlands become the next team to qualify for the EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia
 

Netherlands secure EHF EURO ticket, Serbia retain their hopes

While the Netherlands on Thursday night became the next team to qualify for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014, Serbia, silver medallists at the World Championship 2013, set up everything for a true 'final' for an EHF EURO ticket against Slovenia in the last round this weekend.

Group 4: Italy vs. Netherlands 20:24 (10:13)

It was much harder than expected for the Dutch women's team to break Italy's resistance, but despite missing several key players because of injuries the individual class and the team's physical strength prevailed and decided the match in favour of the Netherlands.

Courtesy of its fourth victory the team of head coach Henk Groener has become the second team from Group 4 to clinch its berth, after Spain achieved the same feat on Wednesday.

Italy, on the other side, remain without points. The only open decision in this group is whether Spain or Netherlands (both equal at eight points) will finish on top.

To top the ranking in the end, Netherlands do not only need to beat Turkey, but also have to hope that Spain do not beat Italy.

It took Netherlands 22 minutes to reach their first three-goal lead at 10:7 - then they kept this margin until the break.

When Marion Steenbakkers netted to make it 17:12, the deal seemed to be sealed, but Italy never gave up and were close to turn the match until the 56th minute when the score stood at 20:22.

But then the hosts missed three chances, Netherlands stroke twice - and their tickets for the EHF EURO were booked.

Group 5: Switzerland vs. Serbia 20:23 (12:13)

Serbia grabbed their chance and now have their fate in their own hands in the final match against Slovenia on Sunday. 

After beating Switzerland the World Championship 2013 silver medallists have, like Slovenia, six points on their account.

Hence Serbia 'only' need to win against Slovenia regardless the goal difference to book their ticket for Hungary and Croatia.

In Thursday's match Switzerland never surrendered, but eventually missed the chance to take their first point in this qualification.

But it took a long time until Serbia - including top star Andrea Lekic - managed to grant themselves with a sustainable lead.

The first 20 minutes were entirely even and the lead changed constantly between the two teams.

When the Swiss team was ahead 11:9, the spectators hoped for a big surprise, but a 4:1 series from Serbia turned the match around at the break.

And their hunger was not stilled in the initial period of the second half: By scoring six consecutive goals to make it 19:12 everything seemed to be decided.

But when Serbia lacked concentration, Switzerland again reduced the gap and they were close to turn the match around at 18:20.

They still hoped for a draw at 20:22 three minutes before the final buzzer, before a goal by Ivana Milosevic secured Serbia's away win.

Best scorer of the match was Switzerland's Nicole Dinkel with five goals.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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