DAY REVIEW: Sweden and Serbia enjoyed double-digit victories in qualifying games for the Women's World Championship 2017.
Favourites earn big wins in World Championship qualifiers
The favourites lived up to expectations when the first leg of the qualifying play-offs for this year's Women's World Championship in Germany was completed on Saturday.
Sweden and Serbia have virtually qualified for Germany after their wins with margins of 11 and 10 goals respectively in FYR Macedonia and Italy. And Hungary are also close after beating Slovakia by nine goals.
After their five-goal win away against Croatia, Slovenia are in a strong position as well. The tie that remains pretty open is Czech Republic against Turkey, with the home nation taking only a four-goal lead with them to Ankara.
Italy vs Serbia 23:33 (11:16)
Serbia left absolutely no doubt as they visited Padova on Saturday afternoon. With a 10-goal win, they almost reduced the second leg at home in Nis on Wednesday to a formality.
3200 spectators thought the Serbians might going to steamroll the hosts from the start, leading 8:1 after nine minutes.
However, Italy slowly got into the match and reduced the gap to three goals (9:6) halfway through the first half. But the visitors increased their lead again before the break.
Early in the second half, Italy came as close as four goals (21:17) but with five goals in a row, Serbia rebuilt their lead again to nine goals (26:17).
From then on, they were constantly leading by nine or 10 goals.
Hungaria vs Slovakia 28:19 (14:8)
3822 spectators in Debrecen got what they came for: A clear win for Hungary.
Hungary coach Kim Rasmussen said he missed 10 players because of injury, but his team had a strong start against Slovakia and never looked back.
After getting up 4:1 and 5:2, they went from 10:8 to 18:8 early in the second half. It was only a matter of the size of the Hungarian win.
Hungary had another 10-goal lead (19:9) but settled for a nine-goal advantage in the end. Veteran Anita Görbicz led the home team with nine goals.
Backed by this lead, Rasmussen and his players shouldn’t have to fear the second leg in Bratislava on Wednesday.
Croatia vs Slovenia 23:28 (10:15)
Slovenia took a hug step towards the finals tournament in Germany in December by clearly defeating Croatia in front of 2000 spectators in Osijek.
The Slovenians should not have any trouble defending this lead at home in Celje on Thursday.
After 4:4, Slovenia were leading all the way through the 60 minutes.
They were five goals up at half-time, and maintained that difference after leading by four and by six goals several times in the second half.
Czech Republic vs Turkey 29:25 (15:15)
Both teams had their nose well in front at one point in the first half of this match in Most. The Czechs went 5:1 in front within five minutes but found themselves 10:7 behind after 20 minutes.
They were all square at half-time before the Czech Republic built another substantial lead, 19:15. Again, Turkey clawed their way back into the game and had levelled the score (23:23) with nine minutes left.
The hosts still carved out a useful four-goal lead in the end. With no less than 11 goals, right back Michaela Hrbkova made an important contribution to that result.
The narrow margin means that nothing is really decided ahead of the return game in Ankara on Thursday.
FYR Macedonia vs Sweden 20:31 (9:12)
Sweden seem to have done their job and made the home match in Ystad on Tuesday to a formality with their big win in Skopje.
Sweden soon went ahead and took a three-goal lead (8:5). Their versatility was displayed by the fact that the first eight goals were scored by eight different players. In the end, 11 Swedish players contributed to the 31 goals in total.
The three-goal margin remained until the break, but in the second half Sweden left no doubt who were the better team.
It did not take them long to double their half-time lead to six goals (17:11), and from 19:13 on, they increased the difference to 12 goals (30:18) before settling for an 11-goal win.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew
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