«sep 2017»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
2526272829301
2345678
«oct 2017»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2526272829301
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
303112345
«nov 2017»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
303112345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930123
45678910
«dec 2017»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
27282930123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
1234567
«jan 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930311234
567891011
«feb 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2930311234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627281234
567891011
«mar 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2627281234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678
«apr 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456
«may 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
30123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031123
45678910
«jun 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
2526272829301
2345678
«jul 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2526272829301
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
303112345
«aug 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
303112345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829303112
3456789
AlbaniaAndorraArmeniaAustriaAzerbaijanBelgiumBosnia HerzegovinaBelarusBulgariaCroatiaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkSpainEstoniaFaroe IslandsFinlandFranceGreat BritainGeorgiaGermanyGreeceHungaryIrelandIcelandIsraelItalyKosovoLatviaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMoldovaFYR MacedoniaMaltaMontenegroMonacoNetherlandsNorwayPolandPortugalRomaniaRussiaSloveniaSerbiaSwitzerlandSlovakiaSwedenTurkeyUkraine
 
EnglandScotland
Other EHF Sites 

28.04.2015, 19:44
Croatia ready for Babic’s first big test
«Go back »Print Version


ROUND PREVIEW 1: Croatia's new coach faces his first big test against Norway and Sweden take on Slovenia when the third round of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification throws off on Wednesday
 

Croatia ready for Babic’s first big test

Several exciting top-of-the-table clashes throw off on Wednesday as Europe’s top teams continue the fight for tickets to the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland.

Croatia’s new head coach Zeljko Babic has his first big test against Norway in Group 1, while in Group 3 Sweden hope to contain dangerous right wing Dragan Gajic when they host Slovenia in Växjö.

In Group 4 Iceland look for two points that will end their disappointing qualification run against Balkan sides.

The EHF live ticker is available for all matches.

Group 1: Turkey vs. Netherlands / Wednesday 29 April, 19:00 hrs in Ankara

Turkey and the Netherlands are currently sitting at the bottom of the Group 1 table together, having both lost their first two matches in the qualification phase decisively.

Wednesday’s match is therefore an extremely important one if either side hope to give themselves any chance of moving up to the top two later in the phase and qualifying for the final tournament for the first time.

The home court advantage in an increasingly handball-mad country could prove a big factor for the Turks.

Turkey also have a powerful weapon in back Ramazan Döne, who is second on the top-scorers list – ahead of Qatar 2015 top scorer Dragan Gajic – for the qualification with 23 goals so far.

Group 1: Norway vs. Croatia / Wednesday 29 April, 19:10 hrs in Stavanger (live on ehfTV)

As the only team from Group 1 to qualify for the World Championship 2015 in Qatar, Croatia are undeniable favourites to finish the qualification phase at the top of the group and sail into the final tournament in Poland.

Though Norway are also currently undefeated in their EHF EURO 2016 qualification campaign and are ranked second on the group table, beating a team that finished sixth at the World Championship – a disappointing result for Croatia, who were tipped as semi-final favourites – is no easy task.

Wednesday’s match will be the first test for Croatia’s new head coach, Zeljko Babic.

Having worked as assistant coach for Croatia twice before Babic is no stranger to the side – and with a playing roster stacked with stars like Domagoj Duvnjak, Ivan Cupic and Igor Vori, Babic has everything in his favour to take the team through to Poland.

Norway coach Christian Berge on the other hand has selected a young squad he hopes will be able to challenge Croatia with tough defence and fast counter-attacks.

Regardless of which top-of-the-table side takes the two points on Wednesday, both are looking to be strong favourites to proceed from the qualification phase to the final tournament in Poland in January.

Group 3: Sweden vs. Slovenia / Wednesday 29 April, 19:15 hrs in Växjö

Another top-of-the-table clash sees undefeated Sweden and Slovenia meet to continue the battle for the number one spot in Group 3.

Fresh from solid World Championship campaigns, either of these two sides could take the two points in Växjö.

Slovenia’s most dangerous man with the ball is right wing Dragan Gajic, top scorer from the World Championship 2015 and current third top scorer for the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification with 19 goals.

If Sweden can keep him under control – a feat hardly any team seems able to master – they increase their chances of a win dramatically.

But the absence of right back Kim Andersson, who ended his international career after Qatar 2015, makes Sweden’s position a little uncertain.

Sweden have a history of being unpredictable however – it is impossible to forget their surprise presence in the Olympic final in 2012 only months after failing to qualify for the World Championship 2013.

Group 3: Latvia vs. Slovakia / Wednesday 29 April, 19:35 hrs in Dobele

Having both suffered substantial defeats in their first two matches of the qualification phase, Latvia and Slovakia will be ready to fight hard for the two points on Wednesday.

While a participation in the final tournament in Poland would be a first for Latvia, Slovakia have been present at the EHF EURO and World Championships before – though in recent years have failed to qualify for either tournament.

Experience therefore puts the odds slightly Slovakia’s favour.

Latvia and Slovakia last met in an EHF EURO qualification on the road to the 2014 tournament, with each recording one win from the two matches.

Slovakia coach Zoltan Heister says Latvia cannot be underestimated, but they have a weakness:

"Their starting line-up plays solid handball, until they get tired, because Latvia do not have such quality on the bench. That can be our advantage."

Group 4: Iceland vs. Serbia / Wednesday 29 April, 19:30 hrs in Reykjavik

Serbia head into Wednesday’s match with two wins under their belt, while Iceland come into the game with one win and one loss.

Serbia are alone at the top of the table and will be hoping to edge further ahead from their group opponents by taking another two points in Reykjavik.

So far in the qualification phase both Serbia and Iceland have faced Montenegro and Israel, with Iceland recording a far bigger victory over Israel than Serbia, and Serbia defeating Montenegro, who in turn beat Iceland.

The top three teams in this group: Serbia, Iceland and Montenegro, are therefore heading for a tight race for the final tournament.

Iceland have a rough recent qualification history against Balkan sides, but the Scandinavians are more prepared to face Serbia than they were Montenegro.

"When you have it in your mind that you are the favourites, it is hard to get rid of it. We knew their results, but we had not faced them before," says Alexander Petterson of Iceland’s loss to Montenegro (24:25) in November.

"I believe it is easier for us to face Serbia. They are a bigger name – this makes things easier for us."

Serbia can rely on Momir Ilic to be a key player in the match on Wednesday. The high-scoring MKB-MVM Veszprem left back is in excellent form, having played a big part in Veszprem’s VELUX EHF FINAL4 qualification in mid-April.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / ts
 
Share
CONTACT FORM