Women’s EHF EURO 2018 Qualification continued with decisive away wins for Poland, Romania, Germany, Montenegro, Denmark and Norway on Sunday.
Poland, Romania, Montenegro, Denmark and Norway now tally four points in their respective groups, while Germany have three points following a draw in their opening match.
After two rounds of matches played in late September and early October, the next games on the path to the final tournament in France will be played in March 2018.
Switzerland vs Norway 12:29 (5:12)
Record EHF EURO champions Norway finished Round 2 as was expected, with a win against Switzerland, and therefore they now move up to the maximum four points after two qualification games.
Norway took control from the outset, which hinted at the outcome early in the game. The Scandinavian team were well in control at 8:3 in the 20th minute – a score line the hosts would not be able to overcome.
With a seven-goal lead at the break, it was clear Switzerland would need something of a miracle to come back against a team the calibre of Norway. The visitors’ 6-0 defence was difficult for the hosts to beat, and Switzerland recorded a high number of turnovers as a result.
When Switzerland keeper Manuela Brütsch saved a penalty against Veronica Kristiansen in the 50th minute, her team had yet to reach 10 goals (9:23) and Norway only had to wait until the final buzzer.
Slovakia vs Poland 20:29 (9:13)
Poland continued their qualification campaign with a perfect record, adding a second win, against Slovakia, on Sunday afternoon. The visitors immediately took the advantage, creating the first three-goal distance just after midway through the opening half, off a breakthrough from Monika Kobylinska. She also had an impressive in-flight goal just before half-time.
Slovakia’s 5-1 defence provided some resistance at first, but nevertheless Poland continued to build on their advantage. With fast, well-organised attack, Poland created a four-goal lead by half-time before dominating the second 30 minutes to finish with a nine-goal win.
Poland now tally the maximum four points alongside Montenegro, while Slovakia are on zero following two losses.
Italy vs Montenegro 16:23 (5:12)
A strong first half earned Montenegro their second victory on the road to the final EHF EURO tournament in France.
After allowing Italy only five goals in the first period, the EURO 2012 champions faced a vastly improved opponent in the second period. While there was a seven-goal distance at the end of the first 30 minutes, the scoring for the second half was level, with both teams scoring 11 goals each.
Montenegro created a clear distance of 6:1 at the end of the first quarter, while the hosts worked hard for their second goal. It came courtesy of attacking specialist Valentina Landri, but at the other end of the court Italy could not find an answer for Montenegro’s powerful back court and precise wings.
Though Italy played a better second period, they could not overcome the deficit created in the first period and remain on zero points after two games.
Portugal vs Romania 16:32 (5:16)
Thanks to an away win in Luso on Sunday afternoon, World Championship 2015 bronze medallists Romania tally the maximum of four points after the opening two rounds of Women’s EHF EURO 2018 Qualification. Portugal remain on zero after two losses.
Romania were dominant from start to finish, with a measured game that saw them create an early lead and steadily build on that difference throughout the 60 minutes. Coach Ambros Martin used the match, which Romania entered as clear favourites, to practice different combinations in his line-up.
Romania’s keeper Denisa Dedu provided strong support for her side’s defence in the first half, letting only five goals past her. When the visitors took an 11-goal lead into the break, it was clear the two points were already secure.
Romania forged ahead to a final advantage of 16, and remain unbeaten in their qualification campaign.
Iceland vs Denmark 14:29 (4:13)
EHF EURO 2016 semi-finalists Denmark had little trouble overcoming Iceland to record their second straight victory of the qualification phase.
With 21-year-old Althea Reinhardt in goal rather than usual number one keeper Sandra Toft, Denmark easily kept their hosts under control, allowing Iceland just four goals in the first half.
Early in the match, it was clear Denmark were the stronger side. With an already comfortable advantage of 8:3 after the opening 15 minutes, Denmark coach Klavs Bruun Jorgensen appeared confident as he played with a different line-up to their usual starters.
Denmark continued to build on their lead of nine goals at the break, and the two points were decided long before the final whistle.
Turkey vs Germany 16:30 (11:14)
Germany opened their qualification campaign with a surprise draw in Lithuania on Wednesday, but recovered to claim a decisive victory on Sunday in Amasya. For a time, it seemed they may record a shock result against Turkey as well, as the game was almost level late in the first half before Germany pulled ahead to a clear advantage.
Turkey had difficulty beating Germany’s tall 6-0 defence while at the other end of the court, the visitors played precise, well-organised attack to create a lead of 12:7 by the 20th minute. A 4:0 run for Turkey turned the match on its head, pulling the hosts within one, while Germany were kept from scoring until the last four minutes of the half.
Germany created a more comfortable difference with a series of goals before the break, and decided the outcome with their strong start to the second period, reaching an advantage of 10 just after the 40-minute mark.