REVIEW: Romania, France and Russia on Saturday all qualified for the Women's World Championship 2015, but the way how they got there was very different for each of them
Russia return to World Championship level, Romania survive Serbian scare
After Hungary had qualified for the Women's World Championship 2015 earlier on Saturday, Romania, Slovenia and Russia followed suit later in the afternoon – but it was not a walk in the park at times.
Romania were close to losing their six-goal lead from the first leg, when faced Serbia at home.
France, on the other side, had no problems in beating Slovenia a second time, while Russia's one-goal win at home against Germany was all the Russians needed.
Romania vs. Serbia 24:28 (12:11) / First leg 32:26 (Aggregate score 56:54)
Despite missing key players such as Andrea Lekic and Sandra Damnjanovic, Serbia were close to pull a major sensation at Cluj.
With their six goal-lead from the first leg, the Romanians seemed more or less safe and secure ahead of the home match, but things turned out to be much different.
In the first half though there was nothing that indicated a Serbian comeback.
Head coach Sasa Boskovic's outfit did lead by a goal or two at times, but they were far away from catching up with the six-goal deficit.
From the start of the second half however, it did not take Serbia long to lead by four when they got up to 17:13.
And when Dijana Radojevic gave the visitors their first five-goal lead at 24:19 with more than ten minutes left, the 7,300 spectators were really biting their nails.
Serbia never got any closer to a six-goal lead though, and towards the end it became clear that they would not be able to reach the 32 goals the Romanians scored in the first match either.
Cristina Neagu scored seven times for Romania, while Jelena Zivkovic, Sanja Rajovic and Jovana Stoilijkovic scored six each for Serbia
Slovenia vs France 21:27 (10:14) / First leg 20:27 (Aggregate score 41:54)
With a seven-goal lead from the home match, France came to Velenje as favourites to book the ticket for Denmark 2015.
And the French team lived up to that status and had no problems securing the final tournament berth.
From the start, they left no doubt about who is the superior team.
A Slovenian timeout at 5:1 for France did not help, as the visitors increased to 7:2 and kept that five-goal almost until half time, when they led by four (10:14).
After the break, France continued to demonstrate their superiority, increasing their lead to seven and a bit later to nine goals before they eventually won by six, 21:27.
Alexandra Lacrabere scored seven times for France, just as Ana Gros did for Slovenia.
Russia vs Germany 27:26 (13:10) / First leg 22:20 (Aggregate score 49:46)
After missing the qualification for the World Championship 2013 in Serbia, Russia are back among the world's top teams at Denmakrk 2015.
Their one-goal win against Germany in front of 6,000 spectators in Astrakhan on Saturday afternoon was enough after they had won 22:20 at Germany last weekend.
At the beginning of the second leg, Germany did not seem to have a chance to turn the tables.
Russia got ahead 3:0 and stayed three or four goals ahead of their opponents until the break (13:10).
The visitors bounced back early in the second half though, and ten minutes and 19 seconds after the break, Kim Naidzinavicius equalised for Germany at 16:16.
However, the home team soon got ahead by three again and although Germany's Anja Althaus equalised again with 50 seconds left at 26:26, the Russian World Championship berth was never threatened.
Anna Kochetova scored seven times for Russia, while Germany had their top scorer in Anne Hubinger who scored five goals.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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