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13.08.2018, 11:30
Croatia control Balkan derby en route to group victory
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DAY 3 REVIEW: All four groups at the Men’s 18 EHF EURO ended with a clear winner as eight teams waved goodbye to their chance of a medal in Croatia
 

Croatia control Balkan derby en route to group victory

A much-anticipated local rivalry between Croatia and Serbia ended with a facile win for the host nation in the final day of matches in the Men’s 18 EHF EURO Preliminary Round.

Each of the four groups ended with a team on top with maximum points, while the real battles took place in the race for second place.

Group A

In front of 650 fans in Koprivnica, Croatia burst into a significant lead early on, leading 14:8 at the break, and although Serbia improved in the second period, they could not get within reach.

The 27:20 win hands Croatia top spot in Group A, with a full six points, and they are joined by Serbia in the main round after Portugal did them a huge favour by beating Israel 29:24, who suffered with ill-discipline and three red cards.

Group B

A similar situation unfurled in Group B, as France’s 24:21 defeat to Denmark ended up not costing them a place in the main round.

There was little to choose between the perennial international heavyweights, with France getting within a single goal at 22:21 in the 55th minute. However, Denmark found another gear, not conceding a goal in the final five minutes and winning by three.

This left the door open for Romania to grab second place with a win over Norway and things were looking good with a 16:14 lead at the break.

Norway were not in a charitable mood, however, and fought back to claim a 29:28 win, their first of the campaign, keeping France in second spot and consigning Romania to the intermediate round.

Group C

Germany’s 25:22 win against Spain sent them into the main round with a perfect record of three victories and the best defensive record in the competition – conceding a miserly 60 goals.

This result meant Hungary needed just a single point against Russia to progress in second place, but they could not capitalise on their golden opportunity.

Hungary’s 14:10 lead fell apart as Russia finished the stronger to win 26:25, which saw Spain go through with the best head-to-head record of the three sides squared on two points each.

Group D

Iceland’s fine run in Varazdin continued with a brilliant first half performance against Slovenia.

Their seven-goal half-time lead was threatened in the second half, but they held firm to win 28:24 and win the group, thanks in no small part to 12 goals from Haukur Thrastarson, who now leads all scorers with 24.

Just behind him in the top scorer chart with 22 goals is Ludvig Hallbäck, who added nine to his tally in Sweden’s 34:30 win over Poland. That result saw the Swedes safely through to the main round in second place.

After a rest day on Monday, the 16 participants are back in action for two days of competition in the main and intermediate rounds and every single match is live on ehfTV.com.

Follow the Men’s 18 EHF EURO

Official website: https://m18euro2018.com/
Playing schedule: http://www.eurohandball.com/ech/18/men/2018/round/1/Final+Tournament
ehfTV: https://www.ehftv.com/int/league/men-s-18-ehf-euro-2018/787
Event Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M18EHFEURO2018/

 


TEXT: Chris O'Reilly
 
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