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05.06.2016, 19:47
Croatia, Hungary, Denmark and Germany finish qualification with wins
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ROUND REVIEW: Four teams already qualified for the EHF EURO 2016 ahead of Round 6 end their qualification campaigns with victories.
 

Croatia, Hungary, Denmark and Germany finish qualification with wins

On a Sunday marked by big wins for host teams in the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Phase, Croatia, Hungary, Denmark and Germany finished their qualification campaigns by adding another set of two points to their tally after winning their Round 6 matches.

GROUP 4:

Croatia vs FYR Macedonia 35:19 (17:7)

Croatia finish on eight points from four wins after defeating FYR Macedonia by a decisive 16-goal margin.

Top scorer of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification phase, Andrea Penezic (with 45 goals up until the end of Round 5), was the first to hit the back of the goal – and Croatia never gave their visitors a chance from there.

Croatia used the full depth of their squad to create a 10-goal advantage by half-time, and continued with an even more dominant second period.

Penezic finished the qualification phase as top scorer with 52 goals, including the seven she contributed against FYR Macedonia. Natasa Jankovic and Sonja Basic both also added five for Croatia.

GROUP 5:

Hungary vs Finland 44:13 (21:5)

Hungary ended their campaign with the most decisive of their five wins, defeating Finland in a one-sided match in which they kept the visitors to just five goals in the first half.

Though Finland rotated extensively through their roster they had significant trouble with Hungary’s defence, and Anna Lindholm, Johanna Hilli and Linda Cainberg were the only players on the visiting team to hit the goal in the first half.

Hungary coaching duo Gabor Elek and Ambrose Martin also rotated extensively through their roster, but with the goal of giving playing time to their more inexperienced squad members, as oppose to Finland who were trying different combinations in an effort to keep the hosts in check.

But Hungary were unstoppable, and after leading by 16 at half-time, did not let up until they were in front by 31 at the final whistle.

GROUP 6:

Denmark vs Portugal 33:17 (11:7)

When they took to the court for their final qualification game on Sunday, it was expected that Denmark would capitalise on the home advantage to defeat Portugal more decisively than they did in the away match (26:21) in Round 2.

But it took 30 minutes for the Scandinavian team to figure out how to earn their final victory of the qualification phase.

From the beginning Portugal played tough defence that kept Denmark from scoring the first goal of the game, which came courtesy of Maria Fisker, until just before the clock showed five minutes.

It was a mark of how the hosts would have to fight for every goal in the first period – but they were more successful at doing so than Portugal.

In a slow attacking game, Denmark’s higher shooting accuracy – particularly from Fisker, who scored five goals from five shots in the first half – was the key to their four-goal lead at half-time.

After the break Denmark showed extreme improvement, outscoring Portugal 22:10 in comparison with the 11:7 score at the end of the first half.

Anna Sophie Okkels (seven goals) led in attack as the home side pummelled the visitors’ goal to finish with a clear win that puts them on eight points on the group table as the qualification phase comes to an end.

GROUP 7:

Germany vs Iceland 33:21 (15:9)

Germany continued their series of successful EHF EURO qualification runs, having made it to every final tournament since the competition’s inception in 1994, when they secured their place in Sweden in Round 5.

Sunday’s match was therefore not a crucial one in terms of EHF EURO qualification, but was significant for other reasons.

The game was the 200th in the Germany jersey for goalkeeper Clara Woltering, and the senior team debut for 18-year-old left back Emily Bölk, who was awarded Most Valuable Player at the Women’s Junior IHF World Championship 2014.

Germany’s victory was never in question, as they were in control from the first whistle to the last. After Saskia Lang scored the first goal, the home team went ahead to lead by six at the break.

Iceland had trouble finding the back of the net, and Germany played much more efficiently in attack.

Left back Lang in particular was on fire, scoring five goals at 100 per cent in the first 30 minutes and finishing with a tally of seven to be the top scorer of the match.

At the final whistle Germany held a clear 12-goal lead, earning their last set of two points to rank securely in second position on the group table with eight points.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / bc
 
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