02.12.2012, 12:32
Turkey reach World Championship Play-Offs

Two qualification matches took place on Saturday while Groups 1, 2 and 3 will be decided on Sunday

Turkey reach World Championship Play-Offs

In the end there was no question who will make it: Thanks to a confident 35:26 win against Portugal, the Turkish women qualified for the European Play-Offs for the 2013 World Championship in Serbia making them the first side to win one of the four qualification groups.

In Group 4 - the only one with three teams - Turkey lost only one match, 36:38 against Portugal.

So while a draw for the Portuguese team in their final encounter would already have been enough, host Turkey needed a victory to finish first.

But the winner of the re-match – and therefore the group – was obvious already at the break, when Turkey were in the lead with a nine-goal gap and the score being 21:12.

The Portuguese resistance had been broken very early and led by former EHF Champions League finalist Yeliz Özel, Turkey played in an absolutely dominant way. Özel also became the match's top scorer with eight goals.

Without any problems Turkey kept this clear distance until the final buzzer.

The remaining three spots from the European qualification will be decided on Sunday. In Group 3 Poland are the favourite in their final encounter at Belarus, which they can even lose by nine goals to progress. the groups 1 and 2 are played in a tournament format.

Italy beat Lithuania 32:30 already on Saturday. However, both teams had been without a chance to still come first already before the match.

In Group 1, which like Group 2 is played in a tournament format, hosts Slovakia and Switzerland have won their first two matches and face each other in the direct duel for the group victory.

In Group B, only host Netherlands have not lost a match after two rounds, but still need at least a draw in their final encounter against Austria to make it through to the Play-Offs.

The draw for the Play-Offs will take place on the final day of the EHF EURO in Serbia on 16 December in Belgrade. Only the winners of those eight play-off encounters will qualify for the World Championship 2013 in Serbia.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts

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