Czech Republic and Italy looking strong in early stages of W17 Championship
The Czech Republic, Iceland and Italy are topping the rankings after three days of matches at the Women’s 17 EHF Championship in Lignano Sabbiadoro.
The quartet have all won their opening matches at the tournament and are poised to reach the semi-finals if they can continue their current form.
The Czech Republic opened proceedings on Saturday with an emphatic 39:18 win over Kosovo. The Czechs surged into an early lead and went into the break 19:7 up before cruising to the win in the second half.
On Sunday the Czech Republic gave themselves another two points in the standings by beating Israel 25:19.
Israel had earlier lost their first match against Iceland by a similar margin, 19:24, but on Monday secured their first win when they beat Kosovo 25:18.
Iceland backed up their opening victory against Israel with a further 32:22 win over Turkey.
The biggest winning margin of the round went to Turkey, who took a four-goal lead into the dressing room but stormed ahead in the second half to beat Kosovo 41:17.
The hosts put themselves on the top of Group B after three matches. They beat Poland 30:27 in the opener on Saturday, following up with a 24:23 win against North Macedonia on Sunday.
Despite a stellar performance by Azerbaijan left back Kamila Bayramova, Italy went on to win their third match on Monday 35:26, consolidating their position at the top of the group.
Belarus also beat Azerbaijan in their first match (36:22) but lost 29:30 to North Macedonia when the two sides met on Monday. That result means second place in the group is still wide open.
Bayramova is the tournament’s top scorer with 29 goals in the first three days of play, closely followed by teammate Anastasiya Obukhova and Israel’s Shira Gerbi with 20 goals each. Bayramova scored 11 times against Poland and Italy, and seven times against Belarus.
The top two teams in each group will progress to the semi-finals on Saturday.