Czech Republic and Iceland face each other in final
The Czech Republic beat hosts Italy in Saturday’s semi-finals to set up a Women’s 17 EHF Championship final against Iceland, who had earlier overtaken Poland in a close battle.
The result sets up a repeat of the preliminary round match between Iceland and the Czechs. Iceland won that match 26:24.
The winner of Sunday’s final will secure a place at the W17 EHF EURO 2021, the W19 EHF EURO 2021, and the Women’s Under-18 World Championship 2020.
Iceland finish strong to take final place
Despite coming into the semi-finals with a perfect record, Iceland were quickly on the back foot against Poland as the Polish team stormed to a 5:0 lead. More than eight minutes passed before Iceland got on the board, but they still lagged Poland by four goals after 10 minutes of play.
It took Iceland much of the half to get back into the game, but from lagging Poland 9:14 at the 25-minute mark in the first half they quickly scored three times and the Poles led 15:12 at half-time.
They hung on to a two-goal lead as the second half progressed, responding to every Iceland goal. Each time Iceland got within a goal of equalising, Poland managed to score again.
The tide finally turned with three minutes to play when Asdis Agustsdottir equalised at 22:22. Iceland scored another three times to Poland’s single goal, and sealed their place in the final with a 25:23 victory.
Agustsdottir was the match’s top scorer with 11 goals, closely followed by 10 goals from Polish left back Julia Niewiadomska.
Czechs hold on to eliminate hosts Italy
After a strong tournament so far, the hosts should have been confident coming into this semi-final. The Czech side did not let any nerves get the better of them, and for most of the first half the two sides were never more than one goal apart.
Lucie Drozdova put the Czechs two goals up with just over five minutes left to play in the first half and Natalie Kuxova added another soon afterwards. Italy left back Ramona Manojlovic scored just before the buzzer to haul the Czech lead back to 14:12.
The Czechs restarted the match with more confidence than Italy, and soon moved out to a six-goal lead. Although Italy fought back to within two goals of their rivals, the Czechs had more stamina and Drozdova’s goal for 27:24 with 90 seconds left on the clock was enough to seal the win.
Manojlovic was the top scorer, netting eight times, with Veronika Holeckova scoring five times for the Czechs.