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02.08.2017, 11:27
Denmark through to semi-finals; Norway, Hungary, Russia, France and Montenegro chasing
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DAY REVIEW: First day of main and intermediate round at Women's 19 EHF EURO asks more questions than provides answers.
 

Denmark through to semi-finals; Norway, Hungary, Russia, France and Montenegro chasing

Celje, Slovenia saw a variety of ups and downs as the first day of main and intermediate round at the Women's 19 EHF EURO asked more questions than provided answers.

The full playing schedule can be found HERE and all games are free and live on ehfTV.com.

MAIN ROUND
The second, and last, day of the main round throws off later today and by this evening the final four teams going through to the semi-finals will be known.

With some many options and possibilities for qualification there are lots of scenarios about who could qualify, but what is sure is that Denmark are through no matter what the results are today thanks to their victory yesterday in the opening round of matches.

For five other teams, their results yesterday mean they will have to wait another day to see if they go through to the last four.

Group I
In Main Round Group I yesterday, EHF Rising Star Henny Reistad led her Norwegian side to a 32:29 (18:16) win over Netherlands, who featured tournament top-scorer Dione Housheer (30 goals). Reistad was named best player for her side thanks to her 11 goals, while Netherlands’ top-scorer Merel Freriks (10) was given the award for her team.

“We gave too much space to the Norwegian pivots and they used this to their advantage,” said Robert Nijdam, Netherlands’ head coach. “In the last minutes, we played better in defence, which resulted in better control of the match, but we had to chase the opponent throughout the match and in the end, luck was not on our side.”

Hungary turned in a superb performance to surprise a previously unbeaten Russian side led by the exciting EHF Rising Star Antonina Skorobogatchenko - whose eight goals grabbed her the best player of the match award for Russia.  

But these strikes were not enough as the Hungarians won 27:24 (15:14) in this top-of-the-table clash, helped in part by their top-scorer Katrin Klujber (10 strikes) and best player Boglarka Bino.

Russia had won all their matches at Slovenia 2017 up to this point but goalkeeper Bino put in a sterling shift in goal and Klujber down the other end did her bit.

“The match was very fast,” said Russia’s goalkeeper Mariia Duvakina. “We played one-on-one defence, but the match did no go as planned. We will try to find solutions to our problems in this match, and show our best performance in our next match.”

The group results mean Hungary sit on top with four points, with Russia and Norway in second and third on two points and Netherlands in bottom spot without any points.

If Russia win or draw against Netherlands in their match later, and if Hungary win or draw against Norway they will both qualify for the semi-finals directly - any other results, require a little bit of mathematics.

Group II
Germany lost 27:23 (12:12) to Montenegro to end their chances of going through to the semi-finals as an impressive Montenegrin performance highlighted their battling qualities under pressure – and illness, as the squad had been suffering from stomach problems in the last 48 hours.

After not qualifying for the EHF Women’s 17 EURO 2015, the Montenegro side now face the potential of finishing in the top four teams in Europe in this age group  They secured this win despite Natasa Corovic receiving a red card in the last moments of the match thanks to three two-minute suspensions, but by then the game was just about won thanks to eight goals from their best player Branka Konatar.

“I am deeply disappointed,” said Marielle Bohm, Germany’s head coach. “My team made too many mistakes in such an important match and they did not fight.

“This is something we need to discuss in the changing room. It is true that we still have a lot to learn, but I want to see our girls fighting on the court.”

For Tatjana Jeraminok, Montenegro’s head coach, the game saw them overcome a variety of challenges, which pleased her greatly.

“I am truly grateful to our players who, despite health problems – seven players are suffering from stomach flu – gritted their teeth and played a match in which we showed an amazing desire to prove ourselves,” she said.

“The German team is better than us technically and tactically, and is also physically stronger, but this match was won by the Montenegrin character. I am proud of our girls and congratulate them on this success.”

Denmark recorded their fourth win of the competition and with it, a semi-final spot, thanks to a 27:25 (15:14) tight win over the strong French.

The best players of the match Soukeina Sagna (France) and Emma Cecilie Urskov Friss (Denmark) guided their sides' to the final moments of the game with the score hanging in the balance and despite a French time out with just a few minutes left, Denmark held on for the win – despite being down by two less than 10 minutes earlier.

“The game was as tough as it looked,” said Heine Mogensen Eriksen, Denmark’s head coach. “The important thing is that we won and that we had the courage to play with seven players in attack against six.”

The results mean Denmark are through to the semi-finals while the remaining semi-final ticket will be grabbed by either France or Montenegro in a winner-takes-all clash when they play later today. If it is a draw, then France go through thanks to a better goal difference. Germany are out of contention as they sit bottom of the group, without any points.

INTERMEDIATE ROUND
For the round of the disappointed, there was a big win for Sweden (vs FYR Macedonia 40:15) and a 29:23 victory for Romania against Croatia which saw them top the Intermediate Round Group 1.

In Intermediate Round Group 2, Portugal got their first win of the competition, beating Serbia 25:22, despite being 11:10 down at half-time. The hosts Slovenia lost again, going down 25:23 against Spain, but sit on two points with Portugal in the group, behind Spain, who are top on four.

The full playing schedule can be found HERE and all games are free and live on ehfTV.com.

Photos: Slavko Kolar/Jurij Kodrun/Slovenia 2017


TEXT: EHF/amc
 
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