DAY REVIEW: Sweden demolished FYR Macedonia for the second time in four days, while Romania overcame a brave Austria in the second legs of the World Championship play-offs.
Sweden and Romania book World Championship spots
Sweden and Romania are the first two teams to book tickets for the 2017 Women's World Championship through the European play-offs. However, the way they qualified was very different.
Sweden's 31:20 win in the first leg in Skopje on Saturday meant the return match in the Ystad Arena was likely to be a formality, and that was exactly what it became.
Sweden's coach Henrik Signell had demanded full focus from his players despite the big lead from the first match, and he got what exactly he wanted.
In Skopje, Macedonia were able to follow the Swedes for the first quarter-of-an-hour. This time, they were able to follow them for the first two minutes and 15 seconds, at which point the score was 2:2.
From then on, Sweden accelerated to a 6:2 lead. Even though Signell gave court time to some of the players who did not play much in Skopje, Sweden were still leading by 15 goals at half time.
FYR Macedonia scored the first two goals of the second half, before Sweden took over again. Their biggest lead was the 19-goal advantage they held at the final buzzer.
With 19 goals, Louise Sand was the most prolific of the 13 Sweden players on the scoresheet. Sara Ristovska and Mirjeta Bajramoska scored six each for the visitors.
Although the scoreline looks a convincing one, actually the Romanians had to sweat to earn their World Championship spot. They were three goals down at the start of the second half.
Romania were unable to feel safe and secure, with just a five-goal lead from the first match, which they won 34:29.
Yet, Austria's coach Herbert Müller had declared that the Romanians were the favourites ahead of the second leg in Stockerau, and at the beginning of the match the visitors did their best to prove him right.
Romania were up 2:0, 3:1 and 4:2, but four Austrian goals in succession turned the score around to 6:4 in favour of the hosts.
After a timeout, Romania managed to equalise, only to find themselves two goals down again at half time.
In the beginning of the second half, Austria even got three goals up at 14:11 and 15:12, but once again Romania managed to catch up.
At 10 minutes and 24 seconds into the second half, Valentina Ardean Elisei equalised to make it 19:19, and less than one minute later she put her team back in the lead (20:19).
Austria seemed to be out of resources, and in the last quarter-of-an-hour the visitors cruised to a big win.
Cristina Neagu scored eight goals for Romania, and Patricia Kovacs netted seven for Austria.
Photos: ÖHB / Pucher
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ap
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