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29.04.2015, 20:31
Germany top Group 7 after thrilling win against Spain
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ROUND REVIEW 1: Wednesday’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification action sees Germany snatch a win against Spain, Austria surprise Finland with a big last 15 minutes and the Netherlands devastate Turkey
 

Germany top Group 7 after thrilling win against Spain

The Netherlands recorded their first win of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Phase, devastating their hosts Turkey with a 23:30 win in Group 1.

In Group 3, Latvia defeated Slovakia to claim their first two points, taking third spot on the group table behind Sweden and Slovenia.

In Group 7, Austria allowed Finland to control the first 45 minutes of the match before switching gears to run away to a three-goal victory, while a tight contest in Mannheim ended with a German victory.

Group 1: Turkey vs. Netherlands 23:30 (11:14)

The entire sixty minutes of Wednesday’s match in Ankara belonged to the Netherlands, who wasted no time beginning an attacking assault on their hosts when the game started.

Turkey levelled the score after 10 minutes (6:6), but the Netherlands showed their skill to pull ahead again and never looked back from that point.

At half-time the Dutch held a three-goal lead (11:14) and it looked as though Turkey would have a tough time taking the two points.

The Netherlands were unrelenting in the second half. With ten minutes remaining five goals each from Iso Sluijters, Bobby Schagen and Tim Remer had helped the visitors streak ahead to a seven-goal lead (19:26).

Despite Turkey’s big-scoring weapon Ramazan Döne showing his form once again to hit the back of the net 11 times in the match, the hosts had no answer for the Netherlands onslaught.

The Netherlands took the decisive victory and with it their first two points of the qualification phase.

The Netherlands will undoubtedly be hoping for a repeat performance when they host Turkey in the second-leg match between the two sides on Sunday.

Group 3: Latvia vs. Slovakia 25:18 (11:7)

This meeting between the two bottom-of-the-table sides saw an unexpectedly big Latvian victory in a match where most of the action was focused on one side of the court.

2.15 metres tall right back Dainis Kristopans once again showed he is Latvia’s biggest weapon, while Slovakia left back Oliver Rabek and left wing Martin Briatka dominated the visitors’ attack.

The first 25 minutes of the match in Dobele saw a one-for-one battle until Latvia crept slowly ahead, holding an ominous four-goal lead at half-time.

In the second half Latvia really put their foot on the gas, increasing their lead quickly to leave Slovakia with little hope when, at the 45 minute mark, the guests trailed by nine goals.

Latvia finished the match with a more-than-comfortable win to give them their first two points of the phase.

Slovakia will now prepare to host Latvia in a match they hope will have a very different outcome on Saturday.

Group 7: Finland vs. Austria 23:26 (12:11)

As Austria were firm favourites heading into Wednesday’s match, it must have been a surprise for the guests when Finland were the first to put goals on the board.

Austria took almost five minutes to score one – and they would continue fighting to overcome this slow start for most of the game.

Finland retained a slight advantage as the match progressed, always just one step ahead of their visitors.

As the half entered its last ten minutes, Austria had a tense period in which they missed all their shots and did not score for five minutes, allowing Finland to inch ahead as the first 30 minutes came to an end.

The visitors managed to come back within one by half-time (12:11), but when the match resumed it was Finland that once again took control, increasing their lead to three by the 40 minute mark (16:13).

Austria were not giving in so easily however. The visitors narrowed the score line then took the lead midway through the half (17:18).

By the 55th minute a four-goal lead meant Austria’s slow start was long forgotten (21:25), and when they held a three-goal advantage inside the last minute, the two points were out of Finland’s grasp.

Centre back Benny Broman (seven goals) led the charge for Finland, while Janko Bozovic (six goals) was Austria’s highest scorer.

Group 7: Germany vs. Spain 29:28 (17:15)

The meeting between these two handball giants was always going to be a thrilling one.

The opening minutes belonged to Spain, but once Germany warmed up fans were treated to a tight contest of superb positional play from two of the world’s best teams.

Germany capitalised on a two minute suspension for Juan Andreu Candau as the middle of the half approached, creating a three-goal lead (8:5) that forced Spain coach Jose Villaldea Garrido to call a time-out.

The lead changed hands several times over the remainder of the first period, but the home crowd and five goals from Uwe Gensheimer (eight goals total and Germany’s top scorer) helped Germany take a two-goal lead into the break.

In the second half Valero Rivera (10 goals) led the Spanish attack as the two sides raced toward the final whistle.

As the match entered its final ten minutes (26:25) Germany led the scoring charge, but Spain never let their hosts get away, continually answering every German goal.

Patrick Wiencek scored with just over 90 seconds remaining to put Germany ahead by one (29:28), and head coach Manolo Cadenas immediately called a timeout.

It was to no avail however; Wiencek had scored the last goal of the match, taking the two points for Germany in the process.

The second-leg match between Germany and Spain will take place on Sunday.

Photos: Sascha Klahn


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / ts
 
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