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28.10.2018, 17:11
Serbia stumble again; Iceland with clean record
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QUALIFICATION REVIEW 1: The ‘Vikings’ take their second win, while Latvia and Switzerland each celebrate their first victories.
 

Serbia stumble again; Iceland with clean record

Sunday’s round 2 EHF EURO 2020 qualification matches started with a surprise, as Serbia lost in Switzerland and remain on one point after their opening draw against Belgium. Top star Andy Schmid netted 10 times for the victors.

Iceland easily took their second win to remain on top of Group 3, while Latvia collected both points against the Netherlands thanks to a strong first half.

GROUP 2
Switzerland vs Serbia 29:24 (12:11)

Serbia had the better start, but after the score of 4:6, the hosts turned the match around, taking their first advantage at 7:6 and remaining dominant from that point. The visitors were hit by some suspensions before the break, which were partly the reason Switzerland managed to pull ahead to 12:9.

Until minute 39 and the intermediate result of 15:16, Serbia were on an equal level, then Switzerland – steered by Andy Schmid, who was again the top scorer with 10 goals for a total of 18 now – took full control again. Thanks to a 9:3 series, the hosts sealed the deal at 25:18 in minute 52 and took two important points on the road towards the EURO 2020.

Serbia remain on only one point after two matches – which is anything but a perfect start for new coach Nenad Perunicic. Serbia’s top scorer was Nemanja Ilic with eight strikes.

GROUP 3
Turkey vs Iceland 22:33 (13:16)

While Iceland kept their clean record after beating Greece 35:21 in Round 1, Turkey remain on zero points following the round 2 clash in Ankara. Iceland more or less dominated the game, and the final result was an accurate reflection of the story on court.

Thanks to four straight goals, Iceland easily pulled ahead to 9:4 and even extended the advantage to 16:10, before the Turks struck back three times right before the break to secure the narrower half-time score line. By minute 39, with the score at 19:14, the deal was sealed. Turkey ran out of power and fell behind by 10 for the first time at 15:25.

In the final stages, Iceland decelerated, but still kept the distance. The best Icelandic player was goalkeeper Björgvin Pal Gustavsson, who saved 14 shots. Elvar Örn Jonsson scored nine goals from nine attempts to be their top scorer.

GROUP 4
Latvia vs Netherlands 29:25 (17:11)

Following a successful start in their ‘Baltic week’, the Netherlands missed a great chance to remain on top of their group. Four days after the dominant 35:25 win against Estonia, a weak first half stood in the way of the visitors taking the points from Latvia. The ‘men on a mission’ (the Netherlands’ official hashtag of the EURO 2020 qualification campaign) improved after the break, but the powerful Latvians managed to keep ahead until the end.

In the first half, the hosts put on a superb defensive performance, almost keeping the Netherlands below 10 goals. In the second 30 minutes, the Dutch increased their tempo and reduced the gap, but could not endanger Latvia anymore.

Latvia are on an equal level with the Netherlands now, as each count two points in their account.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg
 
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