Summary of the five play-off matches on Sunday, 2 June, for the Women's 2013 World Championship in Serbia
Denmark and Czech Republic make big step towards World Championship
An impressive comeback against the Netherlands make Russia favourites to qualify for the World Championship, while Denmark and the Czech Republic have almost secured a spot, with Germany and Poland also being close to qualifying.
Russia were eight goals down away against the Netherlands, but still managed to scrape home a 27:26 win which means that the Russians are still favourites to qualify.
So are Denmark and the Czech Republic after having won 42:24 and 29:17 respectively. Germany are also on their way to Serbia after a 24:16 home win against Ukraine, while Poland have extremely good chances after their 26:23 win away against Sweden.
Netherlands vs. Russia 26:27 (16:10)
For a long time Russia were balancing on the edge of losing their chance to take part in the World Championship already in the first leg of the play-offs.
The Netherlands dominated the first part of the match completely and soon got ahead with six goals. A Russian team time-out at 6:1 did not help much, as the hosts increased their lead to eight goals before still being six up at half time.
However, through an impressive comeback, the Russians did not only manage to minimise the deficit. With 12 minutes left they managed to equalise for the first time in that match and less than two minutes later, they got their first lead, 23:22.
From then on, the visitors had the momentum, and with the one goal win they can breathe more freely ahead of the return match.
Germany vs. Ukraine 24:16 (13:7)
Missing three players due to injury seemed to be too big a handicap for the Ukrainians who never really got to play a part in the match in Oldenburg.
Throughout the entire 60 minutes, the visitors had huge problems with Clara Woltering in the German goal, while German coach Heine Jensen´s women did not have the same trouble at the other end of the court. The hosts soon took a 6:2 lead, and via 7:3 and 10:5 the distance was increased to 13:7 at half time and 16:7 early in the second half.
Germany even got eleven goals ahead, before Ukraine managed to reduce the gap a bit at the end. Still, an eight goal deficit seems to be more than difficult to catch up for Leonid Ratner and his team.
Nadja Madgornaja scored six times for Germany, the same amount which Julia Managarova reached for Ukraine
Iceland vs. Czech Republic 17:29 (6:15)
Iceland were leading 1:0, but that was all the part the hosts played in that game. The Czechs soon took the initiative and got themselves a clear lead which ended at nine goals at half-time.
In the second half the visitors increased the lead even further until the last quarter of an hour, where it constantly changed between 11 and 12 goals – and 12 goals were also the distance at the end.
Michaela Hrbkova scored seven goals for the Czech Republic who reduced the return match at home to a formality, while Rakel Dögg Bragadottir hit the net eight times for the hosts.
Turkey vs. Denmark 24:42 (13:18)
A knee injury by Denmark´s first-choice keeper Sandra Toft did not stop Denmark from making the second leg in Aarhus Saturday seem like a formality after this 18-goal win in Ankara. The Turks were handicapped by the absence of Yeliz Özel due to injury, but this does not explain the enormous difference between the two teams.
Turkey opened the score, and the match was relatively equal for the first five minutes, but after that point the Danes did not look back. After having gained the lead, the favourites continued to increase for the rest of the match, and after a relatively modest Danish five goal lead at half time, the difference became more and more obvious during the last 30 minutes.
Playmaker Lotte Grigel became Danish top scored with seven goals, while Serpil Iskenderoglu scored nine times for the home team.
Sweden vs. Poland 23:26 (13:16)
Poland took a major step towards the World Championship through this three goal win in Örebro, where it took three minutes and two seconds, before Isabelle Gulldén scored the first Swedish goal.
At that point, Poland were already leading 3:0, and for the rest of the first half, the guests were constantly leading by two or three goals, and three goals in Polish favour was also the difference at half time of a match, in which the Swedes had particularly large problems with Karolina Kudlacz who also became top scorer in the game with eight goals.
In the last 30 minutes, Sweden did not manage to turn the game around. In stead, Poland doubled their lead at several points, before Sweden managed to crawl a bit closer in the last minutes, mainly through the efforts of Johanna Ahlm and Isabelle Gulldén who scored six goals each. This does not change the fact that Poland are favourites for the aggregate win before the home match.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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