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04.06.2016, 23:03
Norway and France triumph; Slovenia in touching distance of Sweden
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ROUND REVIEW: Poland defeat Slovakia in Kim Rasmussen’s farewell match, while France keep their unbeaten record
 

Norway and France triumph; Slovenia in touching distance of Sweden

Which team other than the Slovenians could take the 16th spot for the EHF EURO in Sweden? The only remaining options are more mathematical than realistic: to qualify as the 'third best team' it all comes down to the results against the first and second teams in your group.

Both Belarus and Slovenia have 2 points against the top two teams in their group and have -20 goals and -9 goals repectively.

So only a 12-goal Slovenian loss against Montenegro on Sunday could send Belarus to Sweden.

The other remaining competitors in contention have zero points against the top two in their groups, and have a much weaker goal difference prior to their final group matches on Sunday: Iceland -29, Portugal -28 and Turkey -26.

On Saturday night, France kept their unbeaten record against Switzerland and Norway had a walk in the park against Lithuania in their final qualification match.

Those teams are already confirmed as group winners: Norway (Group 1), Serbia (2), Netherlands (3), Russia (6), France (7).

What will happen in Groups 4 and 5 will come to fruition on Sunday.
 
GROUP 1:

Norway vs Lithuania 36:19 (15:10)

Though Norway were confirmed as winner of Group 1 after Romania’s defeat against Belarus earlier, the defending EURO champions were focussed on keeping their unbeaten record on home court and taking their fifth win in their sixth and final qualification match.

On the other hand, Lithuania finished bottom of the ranking with no points on their account.

But in the initial stages and up to 9:8 -- and like in the first leg at home (21:28) -- they kept quite close.

Then Norway strengthened their defence, increased their number of counter attacks and put the match to bed with the five goals gap opening up at the break.

Adding five straight goals right after the break, the gap headed into double figures for the first time at 20:10.

Top scorers were Amanda Kurtovic with six goals for Norway and the duo Ivanauskaite and Satkauskaite, netting each five times for Lithuania.
 
GROUP 5:

Poland vs Slovakia 28:25 (15:13)

In the last match of Kim Rasmussen as Polish national team coach (before taking over Hungary), the Slovaks had the better start, leading 10:7 after 19 minutes.

But then the hosts -- who still have a mathematical chance to finish on top of the group if Hungary do not beat Finland on Sunday -- turned the match around.  

Poland equalized 11:11 and then Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc started her engines, leading her team to their first three-goal gap at 15:12 -- and finished as top scorer with eight goals.

But even a 16:21 deficit did not shock the Slovaks, who bravely fought back and equalised 22:22 ten minutes before the end.

Everything was open again, when Poland went ahead 26:25 with 90 second left.

But then a double by Karolina Siodmiak and Kudlacz-Gloc secured Poland's fifth win.


GROUP 7:

France vs Switzerland 28:21 (15:8)

After their brave performance against Germany on Wednesday, Switzerland were shocked and stunned in the first 15 minutes at Beauvais: France took  full control, closed all gaps in defence and managed a perfect start, leading 9:3, 11:4 and 13:5.

Right then the Swiss side woke up a little, but could not reduce the gap to less than seven goals at the break, while French right back Alexandra Lacrabere was unstoppable, scoring five of her in total six goals for the half-time score of 15:8.

After the break, coach Olivier Krumbholz gave playing time to his young guns, but the gap even increased to nine goals at 20:11 and 24:15.

Only in the final stages did the Swiss manage to come a little closer, mainly thanks to six goals by Sibylle Scherer.

But the sixth French win in their sixth qualification match was never endangered.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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