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12.03.2016, 22:49
France book their EHF EURO ticket in style
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ROUND REVIEW: France are safely through to Sweden while Montenegro and Slovenia win Balkan thrillers and Austria take another easy win
 

France book their EHF EURO ticket in style

Allez les Bleus: France, host of the Women’s EHF EURO 2018, have qualified for the 2016 edition of the tournament in Sweden. Thanks to their second well-deserved win over Germany they are the second team after Russia to make it to the event.

Croatia missed this chance closely after losing the derby at Montenegro.
 
GROUP 3
Austria vs Bulgaria 39:27 (19:12)

As expected, Austria did not have any problems to beat Bulgaria clearly for the second time after the 33:20 score on Wednesday. With four points on their account, they are below the top duo Netherlands and Spain, who are both on six.

Like in the first leg, Beate Scheffknecht was Austria’s top scorer, this time with eight goals. But she was not the best scorer of the match as Lora Serandeva netted nine times for Bulgaria, who are still waiting for their first point.

When Kristina Logvin scored 10:4 after only 14 minutes, the match seemed decided.

Still, the away team showed much more resistance than on home ground, proved by the fact that they retained the gap on six goals (21:15) after the break.

But when Scheffknecht gave her team the first double-digit lead (29:19), Bulgaria had lost their powers.

GROUP 4
FYR Macedonia vs Slovenia 21:22 (10:11)

In contrast to the clear 35:17 win on home ground, Slovenia could not control the match in Skopje.

The young Macedonians fought bravely and did not allow the more experienced Slovenians to build up a clear lead though Teodora Keramichieva was sent off by a direct red card after only 16 minutes.

The biggest gap before the break was two goals. And only a double strike of Ana Gros and Tamara Mavsar enabled the away side to take a close 11:10 lead to the dressing rooms.

One thought that FYR Macedonia would run out of power after the break, was completely wrong. They fought strongly and prevented a clear gap.

Slovenia had problems to score against the strong and movable Macedonian defence and could not cast off their opponents by more than two goals.

With eight minutes to go, Elena Livrinikj levelled the score at 18:18, and when Irina Gavridova equalized again at 21:21 with two minutes left, Macedonia were hoping for a major surprise.

But finally the sixth goal by Nina Jericek, who was the second best scorer of her team behind Mavsar with seven, sealed the deal for the lucky Slovenians.


GROUP 4
Montenegro vs Croatia 31:29 (19:15)

Like in the first leg, which ened 23:22 in favour of Croatia, the match was fully equal - but finally Montenegro kept their unbeaten series of EHF EURO Qualification matches on home ground. Both sides now have six points each on their account, and both remain on course towards Sweden.

Though 7:6 was their last lead, Croatia were close until 11:10 in favour of the host. But a triple strike provided the EHF EURO 2012 champions with their first four-goal lead, which lasted until the break.

One reason for this clear advance was the fact that Montenegro managed to stop Andrea Penezic in the first 30 minutes, who had imprinted the first leg by scoring eleven goals.

On Saturday, it were only three before the break but the left back added five more to her tally in the second half.

Backed by a great defence, Montenergo kept the same distance until 23:19 but Croatia did not fall.

Montenegro coach Dragan Adzic was forced to take his time-out after Croatia had netted three consecutive goals for 23:22 and his side felt the hunter’s breath in their necks.

Croatia even equalized as Penezic took the responsibility in her team.

The match was on the edge with Montenegro struggling hard but the home team did not give away the lead.

When Ema Ramusovic stroke for 31:29, the crucial two points were secured by the host. The result ended a series in which Croatia had won seven of the previous eight duels.

Like Penezic for Croatia, Katarina Bulatovic scored eight times for the victors to finish on top of the scorer list.

GROUP 7
France vs Germany 25:19 (13:9)

After Russia on Saturday afternoon, France booked their EHF EURO 2016 ticket by their fourth win in their fourth match. After the 21:24 on Wednesday, Germany remain on four points.

Backed by a great attendance in Nimes, France started in express mode with a strong defence led by goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud, and by being cold as ice in attack.

Germany Danish-born coach Jakob Vestergaard took a time-out after only 2:57 minutes but nothing changed as his side needed eight minutes to score their first goal for 4:1.

France kept their four-goal advantage until 10:6 before Germany improved, mainly in defence and thanks to goalkeeper Clara Woltering.

At 11:9, they missed several chances to level the score, leaving France a quite comfortable 13:9 cushion at the break.

Germany still lacked precision and concentration in attack. France grabbed their chances and even scored twice with one player less on court.

When the hosts netted for 19:13 in minute 43, Vestergaard was forced to use the time-out card again. But nothing changed and France booked their ticket to the EHF EURO in Sweden, and remain unbeaten on home ground in EHF EURO qualifiers since 1998.

And they have increased their confidence prior to the Olympic Qualification Tournament on home ground with matches against the Netherlands, Tunisia and Japan. Again Allison Pineau was French top scorer, this time with eight goals after scoring seven in the first leg.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
 
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