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15.06.2014, 22:53
Serbia and Ukraine complete the field of EHF EURO 2014 participants
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SUNDAY REVIEW 3: A six-goal advantage was not enough for Austria against Ukraine. Serbia beat Slovenia 32:25 to book the tickets to the final tournament
 

Serbia and Ukraine complete the field of EHF EURO 2014 participants

The field of participants for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 is complete. As the last two teams Serbia and Ukraine qualified for the final tournament.

After the completion of the qualification phase the following teams will be in the pots for the group winners at the draw on Thursday, 19 June (13:00 hrs local time, live stream on ehf-euro.com) in Zagreb: Denmark, France, Montenegro, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Germany.

And those teams qualified as runners-ups from the respective groups: Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Netherlands, Serbia, Romania, Russia.

Hungary and Croatia are automatically qualified as the joint hosts.

Group 1: Ukraine vs. Austria 33:24 (16:10)

After winning the first leg 34:28, Austria were first full of confidence, but finally shocked Ukraine in this return game which was played in Michalovce, Slovakia because of the political situation in Ukraine.

Like at the EHF EURO 2010, when Ukraine had to beat Germany by eight goals (and eventually won 33:23), the team successfully accomplished another 'mission impossible'.

Austria were hit hard already in the early stages, when Ukraine – who needed to win by at least six goals provided Austria would not score 28 away goals (otherwise they needed seven) to clinch their EHF EURO berth – easily marched ahead to 11:5 and 14:6, boosted by the brilliant Olha Nikolayenko, who scored twelve goals overall.

At the break Austria hoped again to make it as they reduced the deficit to only six goals, but a weak start to the second half destroyed these hopes immediately.

After only 36 minutes of play Ukraine's advantage stood for the first time at ten goals at 21:11. Despite an eventual improvement Austrians did not manage to reduce the gap to less than seven goals.

And while the Ukrainian players jumped up and down of joy at the end of the game, Austria left the court in a state of shock, as the chance to qualify for the first major event in many years had slipped from their hands.

Group 3: Montenegro vs. Portugal 22:22 (13:12)

The game ended in a draw, which did not hurt Montenegro, but boosted the confidence of Portugal.

Taking their first point in this qualification campaign against the defending EHF EURO champions was a major success for the young Portuguese team, even though it did not change anything in this group, in which Montenegro had been confirmed as winners before.

Montenegro coach Dragan Adzic gave playing time to some young talents – and in particular Djordjina Malovic grabbed the chance and became top scorer with eight goals.

Mariana Ferreira netted six times for the Portuguese team, who were even close to win this game being ahead by two goals in the final stages twice (20:18 and 21:19).

Because of the final result, Denmark are the only team with the optimum of twelve points from six matches in this EHF EURO qualification.

Group 4: Serbia vs. Slovenia 32:25 (18:15)

Four days ago, before the start of the fifth qualification round, the situation for Slovenia had been promising.

They had been two points ahead of Serbia, but in the end – after Round 6 has concluded - the World Championship 2013 silver medallists, Serbia, have overtaken Slovenia and qualified for the EHF EURO 2014 courtesy of this final victory.

Nine goals of World Handball Player of the Year, Andrea Lekic, paved Serbia's way to Croatia and Hungary.

After an even match until 9:9, Serbia constantly enjoyed the lead until the end, while the Slovenians had to cope with a red card against Maja Son.

The match stayed on the edge though until the score of 21:19 in the 41st minute, then Serbia forged ahead goal by goal and had decided the duel at the latest when they led 27:21 twelve minutes before the end.

Best Slovenian scorer was Ana Gros with six goals.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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