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11.06.2015, 00:10
Wins for Belgium, Estonia, Romania in EHF EURO 2018 Qualification
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ROUND REVIEW: Estonia and Romania have best chances to proceed to EHF EURO 2018 Play-offs, while Greece will have to bounce back time if they want to move on, after they lost to Belgium on Wednesday night
 

Wins for Belgium, Estonia, Romania in EHF EURO 2018 Qualification

Estonia, Romania and Belgium are the winning teams from Wednesday’s matches in the first phase of the qualification to the EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia.

All three of them now have best chances to become group winners and proceed to the play-offs in which they will meet the three lowest ranked teams of the current EHF EURO 2016 Qualification.

All teams involved on Wednesday will meet in the same constellation – with reversed home right – again on the weekend.

Group A: Belgium vs. Greece 30:25 (16:17)

A brilliant second half paved the way to the biggest sensation in this qualification campaign to date. At half-time Greece, arguably the favourites in this match, were ahead 17:16, but then Belgium turned the match in their favour.

The spectators in Hasselt saw a game with two different halves – the first one was equal with constantly changing leads, the second one was a one-sided affair dominated by the hosts.

Jerome de Beule and Damian Kadziora were the top scorers for Belgium with six goals each – but in particular an outstanding defensive performance was the key for success, as Belgium allowed the Greeks to score only eight goals in the second half.

The hosts extended the lead goal by goal until they enjoyed their first five-goal advantage at 24:19 in the 44th minute.

On the other end of the court only Greek top scorer Vyronas Papadopoulos managed to score any longer – he hit the back of the net eight times.

The question was not anymore who would win the game, but how comfortable Belgium's 'goal cushion' would be ahead of the re-match in Thessaloniki on Sunday.

The biggest margin was seven goals, the smallest was three, so a five-goal difference win was a well-deserved result for the hosts.

Group B: Luxembourg vs. Estonia 26:31 (13:14)

Estonia made a giant step towards the play-offs for the EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia with this crucial away win against Luxembourg. Led by Mikk Pinnonen and Jürgen Rooba, who scored five times each, the team benefitted from a clear improvement after the break and the fact that their top star Mait Patrail was on court despite a shoulder injury.

Even though they committed 14 technical mistakes, the Estonians had the larger will to win.

Luxembourg were troubled by a weak start when they trailed 0:4. The team of head coach Adrian Stot fought back though, equalised several times before the break, but was not able to take the lead.

Until the 40th minute and the score of 18:18, everything was possible for the hosts before Estonia scored five goals in a row to bring the score to 23:18, despite having one player less on the court.

When Marius Lepp scored at 25:20, the game was decided in Estonia's favour who have the fate in their hands ahead of the re-match on home court.

Best scorer for Luxembourg was Yannick Bardina with six goals.

Group C: Italy vs. Romania 22:28 (10:13)

Italy need a miracle after the clear home defeat if they want proceed to the next stage of the qualification, while the Romanians enjoy a 'comfortable goal cushion' prior to the re-match on Sunday in Resita.

After missing out on the final qualification stage for the EHF EURO 2016, they are on their best way to return to Europe’s elite.

Right from the start the away team proved its ambitions, as they led throughout the entire 60 minutes.

In the first half Italy never managed to play on the same level and after 21 minutes they were already trailing 5:10.

The hosts improved after the break, but they missed their only chance to turn the match around at the score of 15:16.

That moment was the decisive one: Romania then extended the gap to 21:16 and 25:19 to seal the deal.  

Best scorers were Marius Novanc with eight goals for the winning team and Pasquale Maione with six strikes for the hosts.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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