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02.06.2019, 22:09
Hungary overpower Austria, Croatia and Germany draw, Slovenia defeat North Macedonia
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PLAY-OFF REVIEW: First leg action sees Kim Rasmussen’s Hungary side dominate their Austrian opponents, Croatia and Germany deadlocked and Slovenia with a lead over Macedonians
 

Hungary overpower Austria, Croatia and Germany draw, Slovenia defeat North Macedonia

An exciting game ended in a 24:24 deadlock between Croatia and Germany despite both sides trying their best to edge closer to a 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship berth in the opening first leg clash of the day.

Later on, Hungary virtually secured their spot in Japan with a commanding 41:23 win against Austria while Slovenia grabbed an away victory in Skopje, defeating North Macedonia 33:30.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF, FIRST LEG

Austria vs Hungary 23:41 (9:20)

A classic handball clash of two historic handball nations saw Austria’s coach Herbert Muller try to motivate his team by reminding them of great wins from the storied past of the Austrian team, however, there was to be no new chapter written as the Hungarians overpowered their opponents to earn an easy win.

Things looked good from the start for Kim Rasmussen’s visiting side as they took an early 10:5 lead and 17 minutes later, at the half-time break, they already had a 20:9 lead.

With the World Championship berth virtually secured after just 30 minutes, Hungary continued to run riot in the second half in a dominant attacking display, as the Austrian side had no answer for their power and strength.

The eventual 41:23 win was one of the biggest-ever in the clashes between the two sides, as back Gabriella Toth was superb for the Hungarians, scoring nine times.

Croatia vs Germany 24:24 (11:10)

A young and impressive German side was hoping to ride the success from their Women’s EHF EURO 2018 campaign in the play-off double-header against Croatia, yet a resilient home side managed to stay afloat on their own turf.

Back from a devastating knee injury, team captain Kim Naidziniavicius was superb for Germany, scoring six times, although young backs Alicia Stolle and Emily Bolk were limited to only five goals combined.

Yet the German side stayed cool and never panicked, despite the home side dictating the rhythm and staying in the lead.

After the hosts took a 11:10 lead at the break, Germany bounced back and earned a 24:24 draw, with everything remaining to be decided in the second leg.

North Macedonia vs Slovenia 30:33 (14:15)

Throwing-off in North Macedonia’s capital Skopje just under 30 minutes after the men’s team from the capital had won their second VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, Germany, the scene was set for another Macedonian handball celebration, but Slovenia had other ideas.

Unlike Vardar, who defeated Hungarian side Veszprem in the showpiece event of the Men’s EHF Champions League season, the women’s national team from Macedonia could not come away with a victory, losing 33:30 to Slovenia, who converted a dominant display into a win that edged them closer to a second World Championship berth in a row.

The Macedonian side were eyeing a World Championship berth for the first time since 2007, but they first needed to overcome the Slovenian challenge which saw a nip and tuck first half with four lead changes. But the Slovenians came out of it unscathed with an impressive 15:14 lead in a fine atmosphere in Skopje.

The Slovenian side put the pedal to the metal in the second half and opened a convincing 23:18 lead as they looked to coast to a definitive win.

Yet the fighting spirit of the Macedonian side was there on display as they clawed the deficit back, going on a 4:0 run that looked enough to balance the game.

But the superior experience for the guests was, however, crucial. Impressive displays from backs Ana Gros and Tjasa Stanko helped Slovenia build another good cushion, as the Slovenians secured a 33:30 win.

With the three-goal advantage, Slovenia will just have to copy Sunday’s game in four days’ time on home court to secure that second consecutive World Championship berth.

Photo: OEHB


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu/amc
 
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