NEWS REPORT: The European qualification for the Men’s Junior World Championship 2015 in Brazil featured some clear but also some very hotly-contested tournaments from 9 to 11 January
Romania oust Croatia, while Austria narrowly miss qualification
On two occasions the qualification for the Men’s Junior World Championship 2015 over the past weekend became a matter of just a goal or two.
Every team knew in advance that only the first-ranked from each of the eight qualification groups would eventually book the ticket to the final tournament in Brazil this July, hence a lot seemed lost already for Austria in Group 1 when they went down 32:35 in their opening game against Russia.
However, Russia’s subsequent 30:31 loss to Slovakia brought Austria back in the mix, but their 29:25 win against Slovakia on Sunday morning was two goals shy of they would have needed, and Russia sealed first rank in the group with a 36:24 against Turkey.
The decision in Group 6 was equally close after Romania and Croatia had left the court with a 23:23 draw on Saturday.
Friday’s results – Croatia had beaten Slovenia 25:22 and Romania had won 38:20 against Bulgaria – meant that only Sunday’s games would bring the decision.
Croatia went in front with a 41:27 win against Bulgaria, but Romania withstood the pressure, beating Slovenia 27:26 which saw them ousting Croatia from first rank with a goal difference of +19 (88:69) compared to Croatia’s +17 (89:72).
The decisions were a little less hard-fought in the remaining groups with France winning all their three matches in Group 2, Netherlands having no problems keeping Hungary, Israel and Great Britain at bay in Group 3, Norway beating all their opponents in Group 4, Belarus topping Group 5 undefeated and Spain dominating Group 7.
In Group 8 Serbia could afford a 15:15 draw against Greece on Sunday, which saw them nevertheless taking the overall victory in the group ahead of Greece and Faroe Islands.
The qualification has brought the field of European teams at the Men’s Junior World Championship 2015 to 11 – in total there will be 24 teams participating.
Germany as the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2014 champions, Sweden as the silver medallists at the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2014 and current youth world champions Denmark, are already qualified.
The Men's Junior World Championship 2015 takes place from 19 July to 2 August in Brazil.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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