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25.10.2017, 21:54
Two incredible comebacks for two thrilling draws
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ROUND REVIEW: The first day of World Championship 2019 Qualification Phase 1 matches sees clear wins for the Netherlands and Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Turkey, Belgium, Luxembourg and Finland all claim one point.
 

Two incredible comebacks for two thrilling draws

World Championship 2019 Qualification Phase 1 opened on Wednesday with decisive victories for Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Netherlands, while Turkey drew with Belgium and Luxembourg split the points with Finland.

In Qualification Phase 1, Groups 2, 3 and 4 are to be played in a tournament format in January 2018, while Groups 1, 5 and 6 will be played over six rounds in three blocks of home-and-away fixtures. The top-ranked team in each group will proceed to the Phase 2 Play-offs.

In Groups 1 and 5, two thrilling comebacks in the opening matches signalled the start of an exciting race to the final tournament in Germany and Denmark in 2019. Both Turkey and Finland trailed at half-time before turning the tide in the second period to end their respective matches in a draw.

Led by the top scorer after day one of qualification Phase 1, Damian Kedziora (13 goals), Belgium immediately took the advantage over their hosts Turkey. The visiting side looked comfortable with an 18:12 lead at half-time, but Turkey steadily closed the gap in the second 30 minutes for a final result of 27:27.

Turkey-Belgium_565

In the Group 1 encounter in Luxembourg, the story was reversed, as it was the home team that appeared in control with a 14:10 lead at the break against Finland. Luxembourg stayed in front through to the end, when Finland closed the gap to one with less than two minutes on the clock.

After the visitors equalised with a fast break, Luxembourg were forced to settle for the disappointment of a 23:23 draw after leading throughout the match, while Finland celebrated earning a point in the last seconds.

In Group 5, the Netherlands were the first to claim an outright victory, as they defeated Greece 29:20. The visitors actually opened stronger, but after Luc Steins scored the equaliser for 5:5, the Netherlands took the upper hand and did not relinquish it.

At half-time, the Dutch led 15:12, before showing their superior strength in the second period. When Bobby Schagen scored his 10th goal to pull the Netherlands in front to 26:19, the two points were decided.

Netherlands-Greece_565

In Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina had little trouble against Estonia. The home team scored three goals before Estonia added their first, and the tone for the rest of the match was already set.

Bosnia-Herzegovina controlled the game from the first whistle to the last, leading 18:10 at half-time and recording a decisive 31:24 win to earn their first two points on the Group 6 table.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan
 
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