Russia overcame a few very nervy closing minutes against Austria to become the 12th team to book a ticket for the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 in France.
Having lost 27:25 away to Austria in September last year, Russia this time earned a close 26:25 victory. Despite the defeat, Austria can still hope to qualify as the best third-placed team.
Russia vs Austria 26:25 (16:13)
An excellent performance of Anna Vyakhireva made the difference and let the Russian players jump for joy at Astrakhan.
Thanks to 12 goals from the MVP of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Russia took a thrilling victory against Austria and booked their ticket to the EHF EURO 2018 in France with eight points on their account, similar to already-qualified Romania.
Austria remain on six points but can still advance depending on other results later Sunday.
Russia were ahead almost the whole match, but could not cast off the bravely fighting Austrians. Vyakhireva had already eight scored eight times at the break, crucial to her team’s 16:13 lead.
Austria never gave up and came within one (25:24) with three minutes left. Vyakhireva gave the hosts a little more breathing space (26:24) but Austria came back one more time but missed a free throw after the buzzer, which would have given them a draw - and a guaranteed spot at the EHF EURO.
Patricia Kovacs led Austria with 10 goals.