REVIEW: The Portuguese men's national team has won the qualification tournament in Israel to become the first team to secure a spot in the play-offs in June
Portugal the first to reach World Championship Play-offs
Results prior to the decisive match between Israel and Portugal may have given the former the edge and odds to win.
On the first day of the Men's World Championship 2017 Qualification Tournament in Tel Aviv, Portugal had to be satisfied with a 28:28 draw against Estonia, while Israel beat the Baltic nation 28:25 the day after.
However, on Saturday the Portuguese national team proved critics and anyone who doubted wrong, when they stormed past Israel, beating them 36:21 to become the first team to qualify for the play-offs in June 2016.
Led by their top scorer Tiago Rocha, who netted nine times overall, Portugal scored an impressive 20 goals already in the first half, compared to Israel's 11 who struggled many a time from the penalty line, converting only three from seven in the entire game.
Being backed by such a lead the second half became a cruisy affair for Portugal, who were never in danger of losing this match.
No other teams have qualified yet - Group 4 was the only group that was played in a tournament format -, but Czech Republic, Netherlands and Austria made a good step towards the play-offs.
Austria won their away match against Finland 32:29 in Group 2 and are now on four points after two matches.
The same holds true for Czech Republic, who braved another good performance by Belgium to eventually win 36:32 in Kortrijk, as well as Netherlands, who also won their second game against Luxembourg; this time 34:30.
In Group 1 Slovakia recorded their first two points with a 38:20 win against Kosovo.
Round 2 of the Qualification Europe continues on Sunday. For all matches the EHF live ticker is available.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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