France take first W17 EHF EURO semi-final spot
France maintained their unbeaten status and already clinched a spot in the semi-finals of the Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2019 in Slovenia on the opening day of the main round on Tuesday.
The team of coach Laurent Puigsegur came from behind to defeat Germany 25:21 and guarantee themselves a top-two finish in Group II.
The result also ended the hopes of Germany, the previous winner of the competition in 2017, to make it to the semi-finals again.
Group I, though, remains wide open as all four teams still have at least a mathematical chance to progress to the semi-finals when the main round will be wrapped up on Wednesday.
Group I: Hungary hand Sweden first defeat
One winning streak had to end when Hungary and Sweden met for their main round opener. Both teams had clearly won all their games in the preliminary round, and Hungary extended their successful series with a 26:22 victory.
Sweden had a few one-goal leads in the first quarter of the match, but were playing catch-up with their opponents for the rest of the time. Petra Koronczai was Hungary’s best scorer with seven goals, Hanna Wedenby netted five times for Sweden.
Also, Norway trailed Austria 12:11 at half-time but turned the match around after the break for a 30:27 victory.
Sofie Celius (eight) and Mina Gregersen (seven) led for Norway, but Katarina Pandza netted 12 times for Austria to go top of the competition’s top scorers list with 37 goals.
Hungary lead the group with the maximum of four points, ahead of Sweden and Norway on two each. But even Austria, on zero points, still have an outside chance to finish up in second place.
Group II: Denmark and Russia share points
Denmark put in a spirited fight to grab a point against Russia, which had built a four-goal lead (11:7) after 24 minutes.
The Scandinavians enjoyed their first lead in the match only in the 41st minute (17:16) but found themselves two down again (23:21) with less than two minutes left, but Anne Möller with her 10th of the match and Ida Handreck salvaged a 23:23 draw.
Germany had the better start against France, taking a 10:5 lead, but had their advantage reduced to two goals (12:10) at the break.
The difference of two was still on the scoreboard with Germany leading 17:15 going into the final quarter, but a French 7:1 run in the following 10 minutes turned the match around.
France head the group with four points and have locked up a top-two spot in the group. Either Denmark (three points) or Russia (one) will join the French side in the semi-final.
All matches live on ehfTV.com
Information on the W17 EHF EURO 2019 is also available on the official tournament homepage.
TEXT: EHF / ew