QUALIFIERS REVIEW 3: Clear away victories for Germany and Spain concluded the second round of qualifiers on the road to the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 on Sunday night
Round 2 ends with all round 1 winners on maximum points
The first two rounds of qualification for the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 have been played – and they ended in an interesting way. 14 teams – two in each group – have the maximum four points in their account, while the remaining 14 sides are on zero, making it a classical two-tier society at the top of European women’s handball.
The last two away winners of round 2 on Sunday night were Germany (in Kosovo) and Spain (in Austria).
On Thursday, Austria put up a brilliant fight versus the Netherlands at home. For almost 50 minutes, they were on an equal level with the EHF EURO 2018 bronze medallists.
On Sunday night, however, coach Herbert Müller’s team had a lacklustre start, which proved the key for their second defeat in the end. Spain were quick to pull ahead 8:2 and 12:5, ending Austria’s hopes in express mode.
At the break the margin was still six goals, at 14:8, before the hosts managed a temporary comeback in their strongest period. However, Austria could not get closer than four goals.
When Spain increased the gap again, to 23:16, the deal seemed to be sealed. Still the Austrians did not raise the white flag, but they also lacked the means to turn the tide.
As expected, Germany took their second victory after the 40:30 round 1 result against Belarus – but they were not in control from the start.
After nine minutes, Kosovo were sensationally ahead, 5:4. But as the host scored only 10 more times in the remaining 51 minutes in what was the first ever duel between the sides, the deal was sealed early.
Germany netted a 5:0 series for 9:5 and were ahead by 10 goals for the first time at 20:10. Kosovo fought hard, but ran out of power at the start of the second half.
Goalkeeper Aurora Shehdadi saved some difficult shots and Leonora Demaj was like a soloist in attack, scoring 10 goals, but Germany could nevertheless take the points with little pressure. The top scorer for Germany was Evgenija Minevskaya, with seven goals.
Germany are now on top of the group alongside Slovenia (both four points) in this group.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg
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