REVIEW: Austria beat Romania, Czech Republic had the upper hand against Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina downed Slovakia when the qualification to the Men's World Championship 2017 threw off on Wednesday
Big names enjoy victorious start to World Championship Qualification
The favourites prevailed on the first night of the Men's World Championship Qualification on Wednesday, however some had to fight hard until eventually the first two important points were bagged.
Czech Republic welcomed Belgium in Prague, and the 'Red Wolves' gave everything they had not to not go down without a fight. Czech Republic led 22:18 at half-time, but the visitors came as close as two goals on several occasions in the second half.
In the end it was also courtesy of the prowess of Czech superstar Filip Jicha, who scored nine goals overall, that the home team recorded a 34:32 win in Group 5. However, Belgium's chance for revenge will come soon as the return match already takes place on Saturday in Kortrijk.
Things went a bit easier for Austria who were up against Romania Wednesday night.
The score stood at 13:9 in favour of the home team at half-time, and Austria came out storming in the second half, increasing the lead to 25:17 by the 49th minute and eventually breaking Romania's resistance.
For the remaining 11 minutes Austria visibly slowed down, but nevertheless still a recorded a 27:24 win in Group 2.
Four goals eventually separated Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovakia. Goals were scored evenly on both ends of the court in the first half with the score at 14:14 at the break.
In the second half the Bosnian team was not stopped by a red card for Muhamed Zulfic, and eventually the nine goals of top scorer Nikola Prce were one of the reasons why the home side took a 29:25 win in Group 1 in front of 5,000 fans in Tuzla.
In Wednesday's remaining games Lithuania beat Kosovo 30:26 in Group 1, Italy beat Finland 27:19 in Group 2, Ukraine and Latvia enjoyed a victorious start in Group 3 and Netherlands beat Luxembourg in Group 6.
The first round of qualification continues this Thursday with Portugal taking on Estonia and Israel playing Georgia. The EHF live ticker will be available for both games.
Only the respective first ranked team from each of the qualification groups will qualify for the play-offs in June 2016.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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