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Eight top teams set for main round

EHF / Courtney Gahan

The lineup for the Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2021 main round was finalised when the preliminary round concluded on Sunday in Celje, with Denmark, Germany, France, Romania and Croatia joining the continued battle for the title.

While Hungary, Russia and Sweden had secured their places in the main round after two match days, the remainder celebrated on Sunday with the final games of the opening stage.

The teams that did not reach the main round — Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Portugal, Montenegro, Austria, Czech Republic and Norway — will now play the intermediate round on the path to deciding rankings nine to 16.

With Monday a rest day in Celje, the teams will return to the court on Tuesday for the first games of the main and intermediate rounds. The upcoming stages will conclude on Wednesday, with the semi-finals taking place on Friday and the finals on Sunday. The placement matches deciding fifth through to 16th will be played on Saturday.

Slovenia vs Switzerland 22:36 (11:18)

  • Slovenia kept pace through the opening stages but by the 20th minute Switzerland were opening a clearer gap that the tournament hosts never managed to reduce
  • Celia Heinzer led with 12 goals for Switzerland, placing her first on the W19 EHF EURO 2021 top scorer chart as the preliminary round concluded, while Tia Kralj netted nine for Slovenia
  • it was Switzerland’s second victory, putting them on four points alongside Denmark and Germany, but Switzerland missed a place in the main round as they lost out in the three-way tie. Slovenia recorded three losses in three games

Denmark vs Germany 26:21 (14:10)

  • it was a critical win for Denmark, who needed the victory to progress to the main round. Germany were mathematically sure to progress before the clash
  • Denmark created a three-goal lead by the 10-minute mark and never looked back, controlling the match through to the final whistle
  • on an individual level, Denmark were led by a huge game from goalkeeper Mathilde Bengtson, who made 10 saves at a rate of 43 per cent

Sweden vs Russia 30:28 (10:14)

  • both teams were already sure to progress to the main round before the match began, but first place in the group was on the line and Sweden grabbed it after fighting back from a four-goal half-time deficit
  • three players scored eight goals in the match: Sweden’s Nina Koppang and Tyra Axnér, and Russia’s Kseniia Zakordonskaia. Russia goalkeeper Veronika Chipula stood out with 12 saves
  • Russia were dominant in the opening half and left Sweden with quite the comeback challenge. The Scandinavian side levelled for the first time inside the last 15 minutes then held on to take the win in a nail-biting ending

Austria vs Croatia 21:23 (12:13) 

  • the match was finished on Saturday following a protest submitted by the Austrian Handball Federation and confirmed by the EHF, which meant the final 10 minutes and two seconds would be replayed, starting from a score of 18:19
  • Croatia secured the two points after trailing in the first 30 minutes, taking the lead right before half-time and then maintaining a narrow upper hand through the second period
  • Croatia’s Bruna Zrnic was the top scorer of the clash with 11 goals from 12 attempts, while Austria were led by nine goals from Kristina Dramac

Montenegro vs Croatia 21:23 (14:9)

  • after both teams had beaten Austria but lost to France, Croatia won the decisive match that determined which side progressed to the main round
  • Montenegro created a commanding advantage in the first half but Croatia drew level in the 41st minute, 16:16, then recorded a 5:7 partial to the final buzzer to clinch the win
  • the top scorer of the game was Montenegro’s Katarina Dzaferovic, with seven goals

France vs Austria 28:25 (14:14)

  • France were mathematically sure to move on to the main round before meeting Austria, who in turn already knew they would out of contention for that stage and would go on to the intermediate round
  • nevertheless, Austria managed an impressive fight, keeping the score level at half-time and losing by only three goals after trailing by six just minutes from the final whistle
  • the most notable individual performance came from France goalkeeper Camille Plante, who recorded a save rate of 40 per cent. Her teammate Lena Grandveau was top scorer with eight goals

Romania vs Czech Republic 27:25 (14:10)

  • the match was the decisive one in group D on the last preliminary round day, as the winner would proceed to the main round alongside already qualified Hungary
  • Romania had the advantage throughout the entire game. When they led 26:20 with six minutes remaining, the outcome was decided, although Czech Republic managed a late surge and reduced the distance
  • Charlotte Cholevová was the top scorer of the game, with 10 goals for Czech Republic, while Alicia Gogirla netted eight for Romania

Hungary vs Norway 36:26 (21:15)

  • defending champions Hungary ended an impressive preliminary round campaign with a third straight win. For Norway, it was the third loss in three games
  • Norway led through the first minutes but by the seventh Hungary had grabbed the upper hand, before going on to a six-goal distance at half-time. In the second period, their victory was never in question
  • Hungary recorded the clearest goal difference overall of all 16 teams, with 31 goals

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