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12.06.2015, 16:10
Hungary and France aim to remain unbeaten, Spain want to secure first rank
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PREVIEW: It is the lap of honour on Saturday in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification for France, Slovenia, Hungary and Spain who have all qualified already. However, for Spain a win is still vital
 

Hungary and France aim to remain unbeaten, Spain want to secure first rank

Ahead of Round 6 in the Men’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification nine teams plus hosts Poland have already secured their place at the final tournament.

This number will not rise on Saturday when four matches are being played, as all four home teams have already secured qualification, while the four away teams have no chance anymore to advance.

However, there is more than just pride to play for, as France and Hungary aim to remain unbeaten and for Spain the first rank in Group 7, which would see them seeded in one of the first two pots at the draw on 19 June, is still at stake.

And for the away teams, they will all want to avoid finishing with zero points as that would potentially see them placed among the three lowest ranked teams which have to play the intermediate play-offs in the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification.

Group 3: Slovenia vs. Latvia; Saturday, 18:30 hrs local time in Velenje

New Slovenian head coach Veselin Vujovic has already fulfilled his first mission: the successful qualification for the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland.

On Saturday the handball legend will aim to finish this qualification campaign on a high – despite the fact that Slovenia cannot compete for first rank anymore as they lost the direct encounter on aggregate against Sweden.

Latvia lost their Round 5 game 14:33 against Sweden on Wednesday and will be eager to show they are actually much stronger.

Group 5: Hungary vs. Ukraine;  Saturday, 16:00 hrs local time in Györ

It has been some tough four days for Ukraine, who first played the qualification double-header against Russia on Wednesday (22:27) and on Thursday (28:30) in Minsk, and now have to travel to Györ where they will meet unbeaten Hungary on Saturday.

Hence their chances to grab the first points in this qualification are arguably low, in particular because Hungary, who are already confirmed as group winners, will give everything to finish the qualification with their sixth win in their sixth match.

Head coach Talant Dujshebaev will very likely field a team without top star Laszlo Nagy, but that does not deprive Hungary of their role as favourites.

Group 6: France vs. Switzerland; Saturday, 15:15 hrs local time in Clermont-Ferrand

The defending EHF EURO champions have been the most dominant team in this qualification, and the chances – even if play, like they did on Wednesday, without top star Nikola Karabatic – that they let their performance drop on Saturday are slim.

Switzerland still wait for their first point in this campaign, while France will want to extend their unbeaten record in this qualification to six wins from six matches in front of their fans at Clermont-Ferrand.

Group 7: Spain vs. Finland; Saturday, 18:30 hrs local time in Logrono

On paper this match seems to be clearly going in Spain’s favour.

However, it is almost certain that Finland will not go down without a fight in what is the last match of Mikael Källman in his role as Finnish national team coach.

For already qualified Spain the group’s first rank is still at stake, and what they need to secure it is a win, as otherwise Germany, who play Austria on Sunday, will have the chance to take over.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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