Review of the World Championship play off, first leg
France overcome shocking start – Spain and Romania heading for Serbia
Spain, Romania and Croatia all stand with good chances to qualify for the World Championship in Serbia after the first leg of their play-off matches Saturday.
The odds are even better for Spain who took a 27:21 win away against FYR Macedonia, while Romania were five up in Slovakia, but should still be content with a 23:21 win before the return match.
It took six minutes and 48 seconds, before Lydia Jakubisova scored the first goal of the match and gave Slovakia the lead. This was the only time the hosts were in the lead, though, and as the first half progressed, Romania managed to take a four goal lead before having to be content with being one up at half time. During the last 30 minutes, the visitors got up by five at 20:15, but even though the home team managed to reduce the gap towards the end, a two goal lead before the return match at home next Saturday should still give Romania a more than fine chance for the over all win.
With nine goals, left back Alzbeta Tothova did her best to keep the Slovakian chances alive, while Romania had their most scoring player in Adriana Tacalie with seven goals.
Andrea Penezic celebrated her national team comeback from injury by scoring the first goal of the match after one minute and 16 seconds – and two and a half minute later, French coach Olivier Krumbholz called his first team time-out, as his team was down 3:0 at that point.
However, things were to turn from bad to worse for Krumbholz and his ladies, who found themselves five goals behind at half time.
Winning the first four minutes of the second half 4:0 brought the hosts back into the game, but still the draw, which became the final result, gives the Croatians an edge before the second match in Umag, Croatia next Sunday.
Paule Baudouin and Allison Pineau scored four each for France, while Kristina Elez made five for the visitors.
Spain are very close to being able to book the tickets for Serbia already. After the six goal win in Skopje Saturday night, the Spanish players and coaches will probably not have any sleepless nights ahead of Friday evening´s home match.
With Alexandra Barbosa as most scoring player with seven goals, Spain were in control apart from the first minutes of the match, and even though the home team managed to equalise at 15:15 nine and a half minute into the second half, the guests were able to answer back and create a six goal lead which remained until the end.
Elena Gjeorgijevska became most scoring Macedonian player with six goals.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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