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02.06.2016, 00:02
France continue unbeaten run
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MATCH REVIEW: France defeat Iceland to record their eighth win from eight matches in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Phase
 

France continue unbeaten run

France continued their stampede through the Women’s EHF EUO 2016 Qualification phase with a 14-goal win against Iceland on Wednesday night, wrapping up a decisive day of matches in which nine teams secured their places at the final tournament in Sweden.

France had booked their place at the EHF EURO in the previous round against Germany, who claimed Group 7’s second ticket to Sweden following their Round 5 win against Switzerland earlier on Wednesday evening – and thanks to France’s victory in Iceland.

Group 7: Iceland s France 16:30 (7:15)

Iceland were the first to score but France responded with a 5:1 series that opened up a three-goal lead for the visitors at 5:2 after 10 minutes.

In a clean match with zero warnings, only one two-minute suspension and no penalties in the first half, the score still progressed fairly slowly, reflecting the well-executed defence from both teams – particularly France.

Midway through the half, Siraba Dembele had led France to a 9:4 advantage. The right wing scored six goals from six shots in the first 30 minutes, during which Iceland struggled to find their way through France’s trademark strong defence backed by Amandine Leynaud.

By half-time, the visitors’ five-goal lead had increased to eight, which not only boded well for a French victory, but also meant Germany could start to hope.

In Group 7’s other match earlier on Wednesday evening, Germany defeated Switzerland and would secure their place in Sweden if France either won or drew against Iceland.

In the second period Iceland’s biggest problem was still finding the back of the net, but this time they faced Laura Glaser.

With Glaser’s saves, perfect 6-0 defence and a strong attacking performance from every player, France cruised ahead to lead 22:11 as the match entered the last 15 minutes.

The only French players who did not contribute to the visitors’ final tally were Leynaud, Glaser and, uncharacteristically, Allison Pineau.

In contrast, most of Iceland’s players finished with zero per cent shooting accuracy, apart from top scorer of the match Karen Knutsdottir, who scored seven.

At the final whistle the score board showed a decisive victory for France, who remain the only unbeaten team in the competition aside from Russia.

Russia will play their Round 5 qualification match against Portugal on Thursday.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / bc
 
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