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15.06.2017, 10:52
Defending champions through to quarter-finals
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PRELIMINARY ROUND REVIEW: The preliminary round of the 2nd IHF Men’s Emerging Nations Championship has concluded in Bulgaria with eight teams booking places in the knock-out stage
 

Defending champions through to quarter-finals

After three days of competition the 2nd IHF Men’s Emerging Nations Championship Preliminary Round has concluded and the quarter-finalists are named.

Defending champions Faroe Islands are through to the next stage after winning all of their matches in Group D – 30:23 against China, 40:30 versus Moldova and 44:6 against Armenia. The match against Faroe Islands was China’s only loss, and the Asian nation therefore finish on four points in second place and also qualify for the quarter-finals.

The seven European teams left in the competition have the chance to qualify for the Men's EHF EURO 2020 Qualification which will start in autumn next year.

The EHF EURO 2020 is the first to be played with 24 teams, and the top-three-ranked teams at the Emerging Nations Championships qualify for the qualification rounds.

Just like Faroe Islands, all four of the group winners were undefeated. Turkey topped Group 1 while the hosts of the 2015 Emerging Nations Championship Kosovo ranked second ahead of Ireland and Albania. The game between Turkey and Kosovo was one of the closest so far in the competition, with Turkey winning 25:24, before they beat Albania 54:12 then Ireland 41:26.

In Group B Luxembourg were the dominant side, as they opened with a 35:29 victory against second-placed Georgia, before beating Malta 39:27 and winning 37:30 versus Great Britain.

Cyprus ranked first in Group C after beating Bulgaria 25:22, Andorra 39:14, and Azerbaijan 32:28. Bulgaria defeated both Andorra and Azerbaijan to finish on four points and claim the group’s second place in the quarter-finals.

At the end of the preliminary round, Bulgaria’s Svetlin Dimitrov is the top scorer with 42 goals in three matches. Faroe Islands goalkeeper Eliesar Rubeksen is first in terms of save rate with 77 per cent after 20 saves off 26 shots, while third-ranked Mehmet Emre (Turkey) has faced more shots than either of those above him – 28 out of 60 for 47 per cent.

In the quarter-finals beginning on Friday, Turkey will take on Georgia, Cyprus will meet China, Luxembourg will face Kosovo, and Faroe Islands will vie for a semi-final place against Bulgaria.

The semi-finals will then be played on Saturday before the ultimate matches on Sunday. The placement round to determine the ranking of positions nine to 16 also begins on Friday and runs through until finals day on June 18.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / ts
 
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