Poland can make a huge step towards the Play-Offs for the 2013 Women's World Championship
Qualification Europe throws off with another seven matches
Seven nations are involved in six matches of the Qualification Europe for the Women’s World Championship 2013 Play-Offs this week. Overall 15 nations compete in four groups.
The winner of each group will go through, where they will join 12 of the 14 teams already qualified for the World Championship Play-offs.
The top two teams ranked at the EHF EURO 2012 will join Serbia as hosts and Norway as reigning champions qualifying directly for the event.
Group 1 and Group 2 will be played in a tournament format from 29 November to 2 December in Slovakia and the Netherlands, while Group 3 and Group 4 are played in a home and away format – and those teams are involved in Rounds 3 and 4 of this qualification this week.
In Group 3 Poland are the clearly leading team with a 100 percent record after their victories against Belarus and Italy in the first two matches.
Now the Polish women face Lithuania in home and away matches on Wednesday (21 November) and Saturday (24 November). Lithuania have lost both encounters in the first rounds – so Poland look to be the favourite in this double-duel.
If they win both encounters, the way to the Play-Offs will be clearly paved.
Belarus and Italy face each other in home and away matches on Thursday and Sunday. Both teams are equal on two points after having beaten Lithuania and having lost against the Polish side.
Only that team which is able to win both matches is able to be a contender for Poland in the final two rounds which will be played from 28 November to 2 December.
Group 4 is the only one with only three teams – and nothing is set after the first two matches.
On Wednesday Portugal are in a favourite position despite playing away in Baku against Azerbaijan. The Portuguese team narrowly beat Turkey in their first duel, while Azerbaijan was clearly defeated by the Turkish side in their opener.
On Saturday the team from Azerbaijan is again the host and face Turkey. It is most likely that this group will be decided in the final clash, when Turkey face Portugal on 1 December.
The Women's World Championship will take place from 7 to 22 December 2013 in Serbia. Only the winner of each of the eight play-off matches in June 2013 will qualify for the event.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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