06.06.2015, 08:37
Netherlands, Romania, Poland close to Women's World Championship berth

REVIEW: Clear wins in the play-offs on Saturday have given Netherlands, Romania and Poland very good chances to qualify for the final tournament

Netherlands, Romania, Poland close to Women's World Championship berth

Netherlands, Romania and Poland are very close to qualifying for the Women's World Championhip in Denmark in December after all three recorded clear wins in the first leg matches of the qualification play-offs on Saturday.

Netherlands won 33:23 at home against Czech Republic, while Romania and Poland both landed six-goal away wins – Romania a 32:26 against Serbia and Poland a 24:18 against Ukraine.

Netherlands vs Czech Republic 33:23 (15:16)

Netherlands made a huge step towards the final tournament in Denmark through their ten-goal win against Czech Republic in front of 2,876 specators in Arnhem on Saturday afternoon.

In the first half there was not much, however, which would have indicated such a clear Dutch success.

Netherlands enjoyed the better start and went away with a 3:1 lead, but soon the Czechs took control. At times they even led by four goals before they went into the break with a 16:15 lead.

And they still scored the first goal of the second half – but it should remain their only one for almost 15 minutes.

On the other side of the court Netherlands scored eight times unanswered and turned the score from 15:17 to 23:17 in their favour.

That lead even increased to 11 goals in a half in which Czech Republic only scored seven goals.

The ten-goal gap obviously puts the Dutch team in the driver's seat for the World Championship berth ahead of the return match in Most next Saturday.

Playmaker Nycke Groot and left back Lois Abbingh scored seven goals each for Netherlands, while playmaker Iveta Luzumova scored eight times for Czech Republic.

Serbia vs Romania 26:32 (13:17)

Left back Cristina Neagu was the one player Serbia definitely wanted to stop when they met Romania in Kraljevo on Saturday – and it is fair to say that they did not succeed at all.

No less than 11 goals did Neagu score, as she and her teammates made a huge step towards the final tournament with a six-goal away win.

The Romanians were in control of the game from the start as they led by six goals already in the first half on numerous occasions.

At half-time Serbia had reduced the gap to four goals, but while Romania at the beginning of the second did not forge ahead further, Serbia did not get any closer either.

But with ten minutes left to play, five goals in succession increased the Romanian lead from 26:22 to 31:22, and Serbia's hopes of a late comeback vanished into thin air.

While Neagu scored 11 times for Romania, Serbia had their top scorer in Dijana Radojevic who hit the back of the net five times.

The second leg takes place in Cluj, Romania next Saturday.

Ukraine vs Poland 18:24 (8:14)

Ahead of the match in Uzhgorod, Poland's coach Kim Rasmussen expressed certain worries as he missed several players because of injuries - his concerns turned out to be unnecessary.

His team is close to the final tournament in Rasmussen's native Denmark after its clear win against Ukraine on Saturday evening.

The match was relatively even for most of the first half, with Poland being just one or two goals ahead.

However, as the Poles forged from 8:7 to 12:7 shortly before half-time and added another goal to their lead before the break, the home team was no longer able to keep up.

Ukraine reduced the deficit to four goals at the beginning of the second half, but it did not take the visitors long to take full control again and increase the lead to eight goals a couple of times before they eventually won with a gap of six.

Ukraine are therefore in need of a small handball miracle when the second leg takes place in Szczecin next Sunday.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts

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