Five teams book early main-round tickets at W17 EHF EURO
Only three of the eight main-round spots at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2019 are still up for grabs when the preliminary round concludes in Celje this weekend.
Five teams have already paved their way into the main round on Friday: Sweden (Group A), Hungary (B), Germany (C), France and Russia (both D) all added a second victory and secured their place in the top two of their respective groups.
With eight teams still in contention for the three remaining spots, there will be a fierce battle on Sunday when play in Slovenia resumes after a rest day.
Group A: Another big win for Sweden, Norway hit back
A day after downing Norway by 12 goals, Sweden had another huge win as they defeated Spain 34:23 to guarantee themselves a place in the main round.
Sweden left back Tyra Axner scored 10 goals to raise her tally to 18, more than any other player in the competition.
Norway recovered from their heavy defeat in the Scandinavian derby and handed Croatia a 12-goal defeat (39:27), with left back Mina Gregersen netting 12 times.
Group B: Hungary down Austria by 10, late won for Slovakia
Just like Sweden, Hungary had yet another double-digit victory to storm into the main round after Day 2. This time they beat neighbours Austria 33:23, with Blanka Kajdon (10 goals) and Petra Koronczai (nine) in leading roles.
In the other group game Slovakia edged Romania 31:30, after a 17:16 deficit at half-time, thanks to a last-second goal by Barbora Lancz, her 10th of the match. Right back Alicia Gogirla contributed 12 goals for Romania.
Austria and Slovakia will duel on Sunday to join Hungary into the main round.
Group C: Germany dominate, Netherlands escape
Germany were in control against Portugal throughout and, after leading 20:14 at the break, ended up winning by nine goals (34:25) as the 2017 champions safely qualified for the main round.
Both Rebecca Rott and Maraike Kusian scored nine goals for head coach’s Maik Nowak’s side.
Netherlands were three goals down against Denmark with less than 70 seconds left on the clock but Fem Boeters and Lisa Vlug reduced the gap to one before Esma Staal found the net again for the Dutch team in the closing seconds for a 30:30 draw.
Group D: France and Russia lead the way
France and Russia confirmed their status as the leading contenders in Group D, the only group where both main-round places have already been decided after Day 2.
France defeated Slovenia 17:13 in a low-scoring encounter. Laurent Puigsegur’s team went 4:0 up when Slovenia failed to score for the first 12 minutes, but the hosts had turned the tables and led 8:7 at half-time.
However, France proved too strong for Slovenia after the break as the host nation lost the chance of reaching the main round.
Russia defeated Montenegro 23:19 and will play France for the No. 1 spot in the group on Sunday.
All matches live on ehfTV.com
Information on W17 EHF EURO 2019 is also available on the official tournament homepage.
TEXT: EHF / ew