22.08.2012, 12:36
Clear European dominance in Montenegro

Top seven of 2011 Women’s EHF U17 EURO qualify for World Championship quarter-finals

Clear European dominance in Montenegro

After six match days and 40 matches, the preliminary round of the IV Women’s Youth World Championship in Montenegro has come to an end – and as expected the wheat has been separated from the chaff.

Seven of eight quarter-finalists come from Europe – and those teams were exactly the top seven in the final ranking of the 2011 U17 European Championship in the Czech Republic.

Japan are the only non-European team in the knock-out stage – and they have to climb a high mountain in their quarter-final against European silver medallist Denmark, the current Youth Olympic Games gold medallist.

Group A

In Group A, played in Podgorica, defending world champion Sweden and Hungary proved their dominance from the first match on. Sweden qualified as first team for the quarter-finals but then lost the top match against Hungary clearly (21:13) to finish second behind the unbeaten Magyars.

Hungary only gave one point away in a draw against the Netherlands. Ahead of Croatia, the Dutch team ranked third in the end after another tie in the direct duel with the Croatians.

Paraguay did not have a chance against the European powerhouses and finished bottom without any point on their account.

Group B

In Group B, European champions Russia topped their opponents clearly and are one of the top favourite for the gold medal.

Thanks to an outstanding movable defence, strong and tall back court shooters, needle-pin counter-attacks and inspiring playmakers, they are one step ahead of their contenders. Russia won all four matches in a sovereign manner including the top gun’s duel against Romania after an incredible second half (37:27).

The Romanians, seventh ranked team at the 2011 Euro, still have high hopes and aim for the final against Russia, but first they face their neighbours from Hungary in the quarter-final.

After the Olympic success of their women’s team, host Montenegro hoped for a quarter-final spot. They almost let the third rank slip from their hands after being beheind for 55 minutes against DR Congo, but in the end they sealed the deal.

Kazakhstan (with only eight players) and DR Congo were out of reach and tied in the direct duel. Thanks to the better goal difference, the team fight for the places 13-16, while DR Congo play in the 17-20 ranking round from Thursday on.

Group C

In Group C, Denmark and France clearly topped the table with three opening victories. After a thrilling tie in the direct duel with Denmark scoring the equalizer five seconds before the end, the Scandinavians took the first rank and will face Japan.

France has the clearly higher hurdle to pass, they face European bronze medallist Norway.

Korea finished third, but were clearly below the top duo, as the Czech Republic and Uruguay only had one point each on their account – after the draw in the direct duel.

Group D

In Group D, hosted in Bar, Norway were as dominant as Russia in Group B. The Scandinavians only had easy-going walks against their intercontinental opponents. Like their women’s team in London, the youngsters counted on the same tactics: strong defence, interceptions, counter-attacks, goals. None of their opponents did have any means to stop their express mode.

Japan and Brazil fought hard for the second place, but just as the Asians won the direct encounter on match day one, the Pan Americans were in the hunter’s position – but could not catch-up in the end, ranking third in the final ranking. African champions Angola were close to beat Brazil, but then lacked power and international experience to reach a better result than rank four ahead of Portugal, finishing without any points on their account.

Quarter-finals and Placement matches

The quarter-finals and first matches of the placement rounds will be played on Thursday, followed by a rest day for the quarter-finalist and the final day of the placement rounds 9-20.

On Saturday the semi-finals will be played in Bar, same as the placement round 5-8.

On Sunday the placement matches 7/8 and 5/6, the bronze final and the final will take place in Bar.

The fixtures for the quarter-finals:

Hungary vs. Romania
Russia vs. Sweden
Japan vs. Denmark
France vs. Norway

All the matches will be streamed live across the world on laola1.tv.

Further information can be found on the official website.

TEXT: Björn Pazen

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