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04.06.2016, 20:51
Huge wins for Spain and Serbia; Surprise win for Belarus
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ROUND REVIEW: Last second defeat at Czech Republic end all Ukrainian hopes; Romania lose tight game
 

Huge wins for Spain and Serbia; Surprise win for Belarus

Despite a 23:20 win against Romania (already through), Belarus have - most likely - missed the chance to grab a ticket to Sweden as best third ranked team, due to still being eleven goals behind Slovenia in the battle of the last spot to Sweden.

Only a 12-goal loss for Slovenia could send Belarus to Sweden at this stage.

With this Romanian defeat, Norway were already winners of their group prior to the start of their match against Lithuania.

While Spain (against Bulgaria) and Serbia (against Italy) took expected clear wins on Saturday, Ukraine were beaten by a buzzer-beater in the Czech Republic.
 
GROUP 1:

Romania vs Belarus 20:23 (9:9)

 Romania took the opportunity to give a very team the chance to show their abilities after booking their ticket to Sweden on Wednesday.

Nearly all regular players were able to sit out, only Paula Ungureanu and Valentina Ardean Elisei remained from the experienced players, as coach Buceschi mostly put the young guns on court like his daughter Eliza.

Thus, Belarus were mostly ahead in the first half, still having a minimal chance of qualifying for the EHF EURO as best third ranked team - but they needed a huge win against Romania.

However, already at the break and after a huge number of technical mistakes on both sides, their hopes took a huge hit as they were tied 9:9.

But driven on by the goals of their top scorer Karyna Yezhykava (in total nine), Belarus again had the better start, managing to reach the first four-goal gap at 16:12 in the 40th minute.

The upswing did not even stop, when defence specialist Anastasiya Lobach received a red card after her third suspension only three minutes later.

Six minutes before the end, the deal seemed to be sealed, when the away team was ahead 21:17, but Romania rung up a 3:0 run and were close to equalising, when finally Natallia Vasileuskaya decided the match with the 22nd Belarusian goal.
 
GROUP 2:

Serbia vs Italy 36:18 (21:10)

Though the Serbs had already been confirmed winner of their group, the team of new caretaker coach Dragica Duric put on a firework display in the first half.

Winger Katarina Krpez was on fire, netting all seven of her goals before the break.

Like in the 31:19 defeat in the first tie, the Italian team were taught another lesson and were defeated for the sixth time.

After a 5:0 run to 16:6, the distance was in double-figures after only 20 minutes, the biggest margin intermediately was 19 goals. Top Italian scorer was Cristina Gheorghe with six.
 
Czech Republic vs Ukraine 31:30 (15:12)

For the first time ever Ukraine will miss out on a Women’s EHF EURO competition.

The last-second defeat at Most shattered all their hopes - knowing that they needed to win by a big margin to finish as best third ranked team.

With nothing more at stake than just finishing this qualification victorious, the Czech team had initial problems with the Ukraine.

The away side, which still had a mathematical chance to qualify for Sweden as a best ranked team, were equal up until the score read 11:11, then the hosts forged ahead 15:11 backed by the goals of Veronika Mala and Marketa Jerabkova, who was in the end the Czech's top scorer with eight goals.

But the roller coaster turn on its head in the middle of the second half: Iryna Glibko netted and her goals started to turn the tide.

Ukraine equalized again at 19:19 and took the lead at 21:20 in the 42nd minute, and even forged ahead to 26:23.

The Czechs stroke back, running up a 4:1 series to equalise again.

In the end, even ten Glibko goals had not been enough for a Ukrainian point, as Mala scored the winning goal five seconds before the final buzzer.

GROUP 3:

Spain vs Bulgaria 42:11 (21:7)

This game had little relevance, after the Netherlands had beaten Austria to confirm themselves winners of Group 3.

But still, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and 2014 EHF EURO silver medallists, Spain, were eager to show their fans in Malaga what they had got.

Bulgaria had no chance, losing their sixth match in this qualification with a similar result to the 45:16 loss on Wednesday against the Dutch.

Spanish coach Jorge Duenas used all of his roster and used this match as a kind of test event for the Olympic Games in Rio.

After 22 minutes the gap was ten goals (16:6), in the 40th minute it had been increased to 20 goals at 29:9.

In the end, the 31-goal margin was the heaviest defeat in all EHF EURO qualification matches so far.

Top Spanish scorers were Marta Mangue and youngster Ana Isabel Martinez with six goals each, netting together more often than the whole Bulgarian team.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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