Decisions made, hosts out of contentionArticle
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DAY REVIEW: The third matchday of the Women's 17 EHF EURO saw three draws in the eight final games of the Preliminary Round as teams battled for their place in the Main Round

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Decisions made, hosts out of contention

The third, and final, day of the Preliminary Round games at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO in Slovakia saw thrilling draws and all the decisions made for which teams went through to the main round. Unfortunately for the hosts, they were not one of them as their 18:18 draw with Serbia saw them go into the intermediate round.

Today is a rest day for the teams with the Main Round and Preliminary Round throwing-off tomorrow (Tuesday 15 August).

For all the match throw-off times click HERE. All matches will be streamed on ehfTV.

Group A

Germany restricted Austria to an unbelievable first half goal tally of just four goals as they beat their neighbours 28:10 (17:4) to confirm top spot. Unsurprisingly, both goalkeepers were named best players of the match with Laura Waldenmaier for Germany and Natali Misic for Austria taking the awards.

“Today we wanted to give an opportunity to the players who didn't got a chance to play a lot until now,” said Austria head coach Ausra Fridrikas. “It's a pity that we lost this match as we made too many mistakes.”

In the other match, Russia saw a three-goal first half lead – which had been six (8:2) – repeat at the end of the game, beating Netherlands 32:29 (18:15). A strong Russian defence with Nadezhda Kolesnikova in goal named best player for her side, was backed up by Elena Mikhaylichenko in front of goal, who scored 11 times. This was the number of strikes which tournament top scorer Zoe Sprengers also scored for her side but it was not to be enough.

“We made some technical mistakes in defence,” said Anatoly Skorobogatov, Russia’s head coach. “We expected Netherlands to play fast and vividly, and they did. Overall, we are not that satisfied with the result, but a victory is a victory.”

The results meant Germany topped the group with the maximum amount of six points, while Russia finished in second with four points. Both teams go through to the main round while the Netherlands in third (two points) and Austria in bottom stop (0) go into the intermediate round.

Group B

Ahead of the final group B games the unbeaten Denmark and Hungary sides had already confirmed their places in the Main Round so their final match was about who could finish top.

In the end, Hungary beat Denmark 31:27 (16:15) despite a best player performance from Danish goalkeeper Anna Opstrup Kristensen and eight goals from Andrea Ulrikka Aagot Hansen. The 11 goals from Tamara Pal earnt her the best player award for Hungary.

“Today we've met a very good team,” said Danish head coach Flemming Larsen. “They have very good tactics and every time we made a little mistake they punished us. We scored 27 goals and I think that should be enough for the victory, but today it wasn't because the defense wasn't strong enough.”

The Croatia vs Montenegro match was an exciting affair despite both teams starting the game knowing that they could not qualify for the Main Round. The 23:17 (10:8) win for Montenegro saw Anastasia Babovic in goal named best player for her side, while Ana Malec received that award for Croatia.

Like Group A, Hungary (6 points) and Denmark (4) go through to the main round while Montenegro (2) and Croatia (0) go into the intermediate round.

Group C

It does not get any tighter than this as France and Sweden drew 23:23 (12:11) in their crunch match which eventually meant that France qualified to the Main Round thanks to goal difference.

Scoring nine of their goals was Pauletta Foppa who received the best player award for France, who took a time-out with just 51 seconds left as coach Laurent Puigsegur looked to get maximum points. But a best player performance from Josefine Hultberg-Dahlgreen in the Swedish goal stopped his side from pushing ahead.

Another game, another draw as Romania and Czech Republic ended in a stalemate, 27:27 (15:16). Marina Ile grabbed seven goals and the best player award for Romania while Barbora Vavrouskova was the best Czech Republic, however, Romania will look at just two converted seven-metre penalties out of five and know they could have got the win.

Romania end the group clear at the top of the table with five points while France squeeze through due to a better goal difference than Sweden as both sides ended with three points. Czech Republic finished bottom with a solitary point and join Sweden in the intermediate round.

Group D

Yet another draw on the final preliminary round matchday, but for the competition, the most stressful as Serbia held the hosts Slovakia to an 18:18 (9:9) finish in front of 1,600 fans.

Emilija Lazic was shown a red card for Serbia after her third two-minute suspension in the 53rd minute as both goalkeepers (Marija Simic and Izabela Kondasova) won best player awards for their teams in this defensive battle. The Danish coach of the Slovakians Heine Ernst Jensen took a time-out with 59:39 on the clock but it was not enough to get the victory.

Norway beat Spain 27:25 (15:12) to finish top of the group as both teams went through to the Main Round. Rikke Arnesen’s four goals were enough to win her the best player award for Norway and the five goals Janna Sobrepera Casol scored for Spain made sure she received the award for her side.

Follow the Women’s 17 EHF EURO

All games of the Women’s 17 EHF EURO will be live on ehfTV.

For all the match throw-off times click HERE.

For the official competition website click HERE.

Photos: Slovakian Handball Federation

TEXT: EHF / ts