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14.01.2018, 00:10
Romania join Russia into play-offs
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DAY REVIEW: A tense draw with Ukraine was enough for Romania to advance to the next phase of the World Championship Qualification, while several play-off tickets still have to be decided on Sunday
 

Romania join Russia into play-offs

Several play-off tickets to be earned in Men’s World Championship Qualification Phase 1 still have to be decided.

After Russia in Group 1 advanced already two days ago, Romania became winners of Group 3 on Saturday.

They will be followed into the play-offs by Lithuania or Latvia from Group 2, Portugal or Poland from Group 4, and Netherlands or Belgium from Group 5.

Information on the proceedings in Group 6 will follow later.

GROUP 1

Russia vs Finland 36:26 (16:11)

Russia finished off their qualifying campaign in style in front of their home fans. Having already secured their play-off berth in Slovakia on Thursday, Russia beat Finland comfortably (36:26) to make it six wins out of six matches.

Runners-up Slovakia play Luxembourg on Sunday in the final group game which won’t affect the standings.

GROUP 2

Israel vs Latvia 28:29 (15:15)

Latvia prevailed against Israel to set up a decider for the play-off spot against Lithuania on Sunday.

It seems there is no easy game for Latvia this week. After overcoming a Georgian scare Friday, Latvia had to fight hard for their second win in Klaipeda.

It took Latvia a little more than 12 minutes to take the lead for the first time. The first half was like a rollercoaster as the teams swapped the lead several times.

They both enjoyed three-goal leads but could not hold on to them.

The match was decided in the final seconds. Israel’s Gil Pomeranz made it 28:28 with eight seconds left, but after a team timeout and with just three seconds on the clock, Vardar right back Dainis Kristopans scored the winner.

Latvian left back Aivis Jurdzs and Dainis Kristopans each scored eight times.

Georgia vs Lithuania 20:24 (11:12)

Lithuania took two points for a win over Georgia 24:20 following a close affair.

Georgia, who had already presented Latvia with a tough game, showed another solid display but came up short again in the final minutes.

The hosts took the lead for the first time in the final minute of the first half, but had to fight with the resistant opponent until the 49th minute.

The Lithuania scored five in a row to give the match a winning direction going into the closing stages.

The hosts showed a quality team performance as 10 players put their names on the scoring list.

Lithuania and Latvia share the lead with four points each and their duel Sunday will decide who will advance to the play-offs.

GROUP 3

Romania vs Ukraine 26:26 (11:14)

Romania survived a Ukrainian scare to clinch the play-off spot in dramatic fashion.

A draw would be enough for Romania to become group winners but Ukraine, improved strongly compared to Friday’s defeat against Italy, were the deserved leaders at half-time (14:11).

Iurii Kubatko and Zakhar Denysov were productive from the wings, while the back court was firing in goals with ease.

However, Romania had Tatabanya right back Demis Cosmin Grigoras, the main firepower of the team with 10 goals.

Just over two minutes before the end, Romania were still trailing by two goals but Marius Sadoveac and Ionut Ramba wiped away the deficit as they levelled the score, just enough for Romania to book the play-off ticket as group winners.

Italy vs Faroe Islands 29:18 (13:10)

Trailing leaders Romania by three points, Italy knew that the play-off ticket had already gone even before they started the final group game against Faroe Islands.

They still pleased their home crowd in Bozen with a 29:18 win to finish the group as runners-up with four points, one behind Romania.

GROUP 4

Kosovo vs Portugal 22:36 (11:17)

Portugal delivered another high scoring win following their 31-goal demolition of Cyprus on Friday.

It took 10 minutes for the Portugal machine to start rolling. The hosts took the lead in the 14th minute and built a six-goal lead before half-time.

No less than 12 different players scored for Portugal, showing the diversity and strength of the team.

Sporting wing Pedro Portela and Porto centre back Miguel Martins scored five each to give the Portuguese side a relaxed win.

Cyprus vs Poland 13:46 (8:23)

Poland comfortably beat Cyprus 46:13 to set up a decider against hosts Portugal on Sunday.

It was a much easier task for coach Piotr Przybecki’s team than the Kosovo game a day before.

A 15-goal lead gave Poland plenty of breathing space to enjoy the second half and finish off the match without any problems.

Their 33-goal win even exceeded Portugal’s victory against Cyprus on Friday.

Portugal and Poland will battle it out for the play-off berth on Sunday, with Poland in a must-win situation while a draw would do for Portugal.


TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / ew
 
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