Turkey and Greece take close victoriesArticle
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GROUP 1 REVIEW: Greece survive a second-half comeback by Belgium, while Turkey hold on against a battling Kosovo

The first round of European qualification for the Men's World Championship 2023 featured two close matches, giving Turkey and Greece the early advantage in the battle to secure a place in the second phase of qualification.

Turkey just had the edge over Kosovo throughout their match, while Belgium mounted a second-half comeback to beat Greece.

Turkey vs Kosovo 25:23 (15:14)

  • Kosovo led for less than a minute of the match, after right back Drenit Tahirukaj scored after just two seconds. Turkish left back Yakup Yasar Simsar struck back 55 seconds later, setting up a close contest
  • Turkey led by four goals for much of the first half, but a 4:1 run got Kosovo back on terms
  • the second half proved similar, with Kosovo repeatedly responding when Turkey stretched ahead, but despite scoring the last two goals of the game, it was not enough for the visitors
  • Turkey's 22-year-old right wing Görkem Biçer was the outstanding player of the night, netting seven shots from eight attempts; Kosovan centre back Egzon Gjuka scored six from six

Belgium vs Greece 27:29 (12:14)

  • Belgium had a strong start and led for 15 minutes, before Panteleimon Kostakidis gave Greece their first lead at 5:6
  • after trailing by two goals at the break, Belgium took control at the start of the second half. A 6:3 run gave them the lead at 18:17 after less than 10 minutes
  • Greece's top scorer, experienced right wing Dimitrios Tziras, was key to the visitors' quick response, which put them back in control with less than a quarter of the match remaining
  • Belgium kept fighting, pulling back from four goals down to just one with two and a half minutes left, but Greece had done enough
  • Tziras finished the night with nine goals from 11 shots, while Yannick Glorieux scored seven times for Belgium

TEXT: Joanne Harris