Romania, Poland, Czech Republic and Denmark - the teams, that had become the favourites after the first leg, were again not really threatened during their respective second legs on Saturday (8 June)
Four more teams ready for Serbia
The four European play-offs matches on Saturday (8 June) for the 2013 Women's World Championship all ended with further wins for the teams who had won their away matches in the first leg last weekend.
Denmark and Czech Republic had virtually booked a berth following huge away wins in the first match, and they both won clearly again – Denmark 31:26 against Turkey and Czech Republic 26:21 against Iceland.
Romania, who had taken a two goal lead with them after the first match in Slovakia, had no problems either and won 30:22 at home, while Poland added a 32:31 home win to their 26:23 away victory against Sweden from last weekend.
Romania vs. Slovakia 30:22 (18:14) / Aggregate 53:43 - first leg 23:21 (in favour of Romania)
After their two-goal away win in the first leg, Romania obviously had a great chance to live up to their status as favourites and qualify for the World Championship.
And they never let go of that chance. Not a single time in the return match were the Slovakians even close to turning the tables. Romania were in the driver's seat from the start to the end, and already in the first half were they up by seven goals at 17:10, before the visitors managed to narrow the gap to four at half-time.
During the second half, the hosts increased the margin once more again, leaving no doubt as to which team was going to Serbia, and after enjoying their largest lead at 28:19, the Romanians in the end were content with their eight goal win.
Poland vs. Sweden 32:31 (17:15) / Aggregate 58:54 - first leg 26:23 (in favour of Poland)
Ahead of this second leg, Sweden were hoping of for another '2001 miracle', referring to the year when Sweden managed to qualify for the World Championship despite a 24:19 home defeat against Germany in the first leg.
Back then, a last second goal in the return match granted Sweden a 27:22 win and the qualification due to the higher number of away goals.
However, this year the miracle never occurred. Actually, it was never even close to occur. Isablle Gulldén, who scored 11 goals in the match, gave the Swedes a 1:0 lead in Polish Elblag, but that was the only lead the Scandinavians ever enjoyed.
For most of the rest of the match, the hosts were leading by one or two goals – at one point even three – and although Sweden managed to equalise several times after the break, the one goal difference at the end was more than enough for the Polish girls and their Danish coach Kim Rasmussen to celebrate the ticket to Serbia in December.
Czech Republic vs. Iceland 26:21 (15:9) / Aggregate 55:38 - first leg 29:17 (in favour of Czech Republic)
After the Czech 12-goal win in Iceland in the first match, there was really not that much which was left at stake.
However, the Czech team took the opportunity from the start to emphasise who were the better team and got ahead 3:0. The dominance from the home team did not decrease as the first half progressed, and at half-time the hosts were leading by six goals.
That lead was extended to ten at 21:11 quite early in the second half, but towards the end the Iceland managed to restore a bit of their honour and get away with a defeat which was less than half as big as the home defeat a week earlier.
Denmark vs. Turkey 31:26 (13:15) / Aggregate 73:50 - first leg 42:24 (in favour of Denmark)
Even though the match was a formality after the Danish 18-goal win in the first match in Ankara last Sunday, almost a hundred Turkish fans could be seen in Aarhus' NRGI Arena where they made themselves vocally heard among the 2452 spectators.
The enthusiastic Turkish supporters were rewarded by seeing their team being in the lead during the first 40 minutes of the match, and the Danish coach Jan Pytlick, who took the opportunity to test some of his substitutes, had to wait 41 minutes to see his team take the first lead in the game, at 19:18.
In the last quarter of an hour, then, the hosts managed to tighten the grip, especially in the defence, and take a relatively clear win.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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