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14.06.2018, 23:50
Serbia and Croatia book final Word Championship tickets
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SECOND LEG REVIEW: Croatia and Serbia were in no real trouble in the two remaining play-off matches for the Men’s World Championship 2019 on Thursday evening
 

Serbia and Croatia book final Word Championship tickets

The last two European tickets for the Men’s World Championship 2019 in Denmark and Germany were earned by Croatia and Serbia on Thursday evening.

Despite being seven goals down at one stage in the first half, Croatia were never in real danger of losing their 13-goal lead from the first leg against Montenegro, who eventually won 32:31, while Serbia’s seven goal lead against Portugal was rarely under pressure either, as the second leg ended in a 25:25 draw.

Montenegro vs Croatia 32:31 (18:14)
First leg - 19:32. Aggregate - 51:63

Croatia can look forward to spending next January in Denmark and Germany after responding well to trouble in parts of the first half at S. C. Moraca in Podgorica.

From the start, the Montenegrins seemed to believe in their slim chance of turning the tables and reaching the final tournament after all.

It did not take them long to go 7:3 ahead and a Croatian timeout at this point did not have much significance.

By the 17th minute, Montenegro had already closed more than half of the 13-goal deficit from the first leg as they lead 13:6.

However, the Croatians managed to slowly reduce the gap.

With four minutes left of the first half, they were within three at 15:12 and for the rest of the half, the home team were never leading by more than four goals.

After that, there was never any doubt about the final outcome of the tie.

Montenegro were never able to extend the lead beyond four and Croatia even took the lead on two occasions in the final 10 minutes.

At the end, Montenegro managed to take back the lead and could at least find some consolation in winning the second leg.

Portugal vs Serbia 25:25 (13:10)
First leg - 21:28. Aggregate - 46:53

An optimistic start from Portugal was not enough to shake Serbia’s World Championship hopes in Povoa de Varzim on Thursday night.

The Serbs managed to come back from several three and four-goal deficits to claim a draw, which was more than enough to put their name in the hat for the final tournament draw in Copenhagen on 25 June.

A strong first half gave the Portuguese good reason to believe in reversing their seven-goal deficit from the first leg.

After 10 and a half minutes, the home side were leading 5:2, before Serbia settled into the match and drew level at 6:6 on 20 minutes.
Portugal had the better finish to the half and were even leading 13:9 shortly before the break. A three-goal lead for the home team at half-time left the tie wide open.

Not for much longer, though. Portugal opened the second half by taking another four-goal lead at 15:11, but that was the closest they came to Serbia’s seven-goal lead.

Serbia caught up and took the lead for the first time at 18:17, before trading goals with Portugal for the rest of the match and cruising towards their spot in next year’s World Championship.

 


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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