Romania lose points and Neagu but not hope yet

GROUP II REVIEW: Cristina Neagu went off with an injury, but Romania still hopes of a semi-final berth, while Hungary are out despite their 31:29 win

Hungary beat Romania to turn the semi-final riddle perfectly complicated. Photo credit: Jozo Cabraja / kolektiff Images

It was a bitter victory for Hungary and a tough day for Romania.

Hungarians beat their regional rivals 31:29, but needed a much more lopsided win after Norway beat Spain.

Romania not only lost points, which could have paved their way to the semi-finals, but more importantly lost Cristina Neagu due to injury.

However, they still have chances to proceed to the next phase, but must wait for the Germany vs Netherlands result.


Hungary vs Romania 31:29 (17:17)

After Norway won against Spain an hour earlier, Hungary’s hopes for a semi-final berth were slim to none, as they needed at least a 19-goal win against Romania. But that did not mean that Hungary would just give up in a huge regional derby, which, historically, has been dominated by them.

Yet it was all Romania in the first 15 minutes, as Kim Rasmussen’s side failed to contain the Romanian attack, who scored at free will.

While Hungary deployed a man-to-man coverage for left back Cristina Neagu, the Romanian star read correctly what the opponent had prepared and unleashed a flurry of passes to Crina Pintea, as the line player score four times in the first 12 minute.

Therefore, it was no surprise that Romania were cruising to a 11:6 lead, with their defence amped up.

A win would have meant that the Romanian side were through to the semi-final of the EHF EURO 2018, but a well-taken time-out by Rasmussen turned the game on its head.

The two wings were perfect once again, Noemi Hafra made goal after goal, while Romania had little to show besides Cristina Neagu, who ended the first half with six goals.

Romania were still through at half-time, but the 17:17 draw was a difficult pill to swallow for the Romanian fans, who were once again afraid to be disappointed by their team.

There were troubles in attack and no stops in defence for Ambros Martin’s side, as Romania crumbled and let Hungary take a 22:20 lead.

With a superb Eva Kiss between the goal posts, who saved four consecutive Romanian shots, Hungary was heading straight for the win, 26:21, with a difference that would have seen Romania holding just an outside chance for the final weekend in Paris.

But Romania came back, tied the game, 27:27, and hoped for the best.

Yet disaster struck! In a normal play, Cristina Neagu injured her right knee and went off with an injury.

Then Romania could not find their compass. Kiss continued to frustrate the Romanian side, who lost by two goals, 31:29.

Romania still hold the tiebreaker against Norway and Hungary, but could be out of contention depending on the Germany vs Netherlands result.

written by Adrian Costeiu / br