Five clear victories for Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands and Hungary opened the sixth and final qualification round en route to the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 on Saturday. All the victors had already booked their tickets to the final tournament in France before their matches, while all the losing teams had already been eliminated from the EURO – so there were no surprises.
Denmark are the first side to finish the qualification with the maximum six wins and 12 points.
Thanks to an extraordinary 12:1 run, Sweden had sealed the deal after only 20 minutes – then they allowed Faroe Islands to reduce the gap a little before the break and score nine times in the second half. The final result was nearly equal to the first leg, which ended 33:15.
The top scorer on Saturday was from Faroe Islands: Mariana Eystberg netted six times, contributing nearly 50 per cent of her team’s goals.
By winning their fifth out of six matches, the Scandinavians took the lead in their group with 10 points, but Serbia can equal that tally tomorrow when they face FYR Macedonia. Both Sweden and Serbia booked their ticket to France in round 5.
Denmark broke the resistance of the ‘Vikings’ early, creating a 10:4 advantage, after which the match was more or less decided. The visitors stood strong, but never had the chance to endanger the three-time EHF EURO winners, who took their sixth victory in this round.
Iceland had their strongest period when they reduced the gap from 10:16 to 14:16, but when the hosts took the upper hand again, the match was decided – though the result was closer than in the first leg (29:14).
Iceland finish the qualification with one point from their draw against Slovenia in round 3.
Germany were close to their all-time record victory – a 45:12 result against Paraguay in 2007. Like in the first leg of this duel (30:16), Turkey were unable to challenge their hosts in what was the last official match of Germany team captain Anna Loerper.
After 23 minutes, the margin stood at 10 goals; in minute 40, it was 15 (27:12); and in minute 53, Germany reached their first 20 goal advantage, at 36:16. The top scorer of the game was Alicia Stolle, with six goals.
While Turkey had missed a place at the EURO before this round, Germany booked their ticket on Thursday in Lithuania, and finish the qualification phase on nine points.
As expected, Kosovo were not a high hurdle for the EHF EURO 2016 silver medallists, with Saturday’s match very similar to the first leg (40:12). While the Netherlands, who had booked their EURO ticket in Round 5, finish their qualification campaign with their fifth win in six matches, Kosovo ended their first ever qualification phase without any points.
After nine minutes, the score was 8:2. The 17:7 in minute 24 was the first double-figure advantage, and in minute 38, the Netherlands led by 15 goals, at 27:12. Anouk Nieuwenweg was the top scorer with eight goals, while Ardiana Merditaj scored six times for Kosovo.
Thanks to the away goal rule, Netherlands finish second in their group below Hungary, as the Dutch side won the match in Hungary 19:18, but lost 22:23 at home. Both sides have 10 points in their account.Hungary vs Belarus 30:22 (12:13)
The fans in Kecskemet saw a game of two different halves: Belarus were the better team in the first, then the hosts improved, turned the match around and secured their fifth win – and with it, first position in Group 7.
Belarus started in express mode, pulling ahead 7:2, before the Hungarians improved and levelled the result for the first time right after the break, at 13:13. 16:15 was the first lead for the hosts, but Belarus stood strong until minute 54, when the score was 24:22 in favour of Hungary.
The hosts, who won the first-leg clash between these sides 25:18, recorded a 6:0 series in the final stages to make their fans happy. The top scorer was Hungarian Dora Hornyak with seven goals.