REVIEW: Italy get off to a perfect start to the Women's World Championship 2015 Qualification, gaining two valuable points with a 23:20 away victory against FYR Macedonia
Italy stun FYR Macedonia with second half comeback
Italy's women's national team had a perfect start to the Women's World Championship 2015 Qualification, gaining two valuable points in Group 3 on the road to the play-offs next June with a 23:20 away victory against FYR Macedonia.
For FYR Macedonia the loss meant that their series without a win in a competitive international match since 2012 continues. Italy on the other side can look ahead to the return match on Sunday, 12 October (18:30 hrs, live ticker available) full of confidence.
"We knew it would be a tough game playing at FYR Macedonia's home court. But I think we have worked hard in recent months, always sacrificed ourselves in training, (...) and I think the results of this work have emerged today. It is a victory of the team," said goalkeeper and team captain Monika Prunster.
"Sunday's match in Italy will be another very difficult game. We'll still give 110 per cent, play with the same spirit and with the same determination as we did today, and with the public on our side, I think we can do something nice for all of us."
FYR Macedonia had the better start to the game and were up 9:4 by the middle of the first half. Italy tried to fight themselves back in the game, but did not get any closer than three goals with the score standing at 14:11 in favour of FYR Macedonia at half-time.
However, Italy stepped up their game in the second half. While FYR Macedonia scored the first goal of the second period, Italy levelled the match at 18:18 in the 43rd minute and took the lead shortly afterwards.
Led by Cristina Gheorghe, who scored six goals overall, and backed by the strong saves of goalkeeper Prunster, Italy extended their lead to three goals and never let this advantage slip from their hands, leaving the arena in Skopje with a 23:20 win in their pockets.
Following the return match on Sunday, Italy will meet Iceland, the third team in Group 3, for a double header on 27 and 30 November. FYR Macedonia and Iceland then face on 3 and 6 December 2014.
Only the winner of each group qualifies for the play-offs next June that will decide about the European teams participating at the Women's World Championship 2015 in Denmark.
Qualification Groups 1, 2 and 4 are played in tournament format at the end of November and the beginning of December.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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