Six European women’s teams book the last remaining tickets to Rio 2016Article
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REVIEW: Netherlands, France, Romania, Montenegro, Russia and Sweden complete the field in women’s handball at the upcoming Olympic Games

Six European women’s teams book the last remaining tickets to Rio 2016

The final six spots for the women’s handball tournament at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games have been confirmed, and all tickets that were at stake at the three qualification tournaments played over the weekend went to European teams.

France, Netherlands, Romania, Montenegro, Russia and Sweden clinched their respective berth, while Denmark, three-time Olympic champions, became the most notable team to miss out.

The 1996, 2000 and 2004 gold medallists had to replace several key players and were not able to make use of their home advantage at the tournament in Aarhus.

They lost their matches against Romania 25:32 and Montenegro 22:26 and following a 38:17 win against Uruguay they had to be satisfied with the third rank.

Montenegro and Romania, who both had beaten Denmark and Uruguay previously, drew 23:23 on Sunday, but Romania, bronze medallists at the World Championship 2015, finished first courtesy of their better goal difference.

In the tournament in Metz, hosts France found themselves under pressure ahead of the last match against Japan after they had lost the opening game 24:17 against Netherlands.

However, in the end they recorded a deserved 25:17 win and placed second behind the Netherlands who qualified for Olympic Games for the first time in the team’s history.

In the third tournament Russia became the only hosts to qualify for Rio 2016 in undefeated fashion.

They first beat Poland 27:25, then Mexico 37:17 and finally Sweden 37:29 to top the group.

Sweden won the crucial encounter against Poland 30:24 and became the second team to qualify for the Olympic Games from this tournament.

Overall eight teams from Europe, the abovementioned six as well as world champions Norway and EHF EURO 2014 silver medallists Spain, will fight for medals at the upcoming Olympic Games.

They are joined by Korea, Angola, Argentina and Brazil.

The draw for the preliminary round groups will take place on 1 May 2016. The teams will be drawn to groups of six with the top four qualifying for the quarter-final.

Photo: Stephane Pillaud

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts