Belgium, Italy and Faroe Islands proceed to next stageArticle
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DAY REVIEW: The first European qualification stage for the 2023 World Championship saw four teams advance

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All eight teams which made it through from the first qualification stage to the first play-off stage on the road to the IHF 2023 Men’s World Championship were confirmed on Sunday. 

In group 1, Belgium celebrated thanks to Greece’s 28:20 away victory against Turkey. The Belgian side remained in the second position and one point ahead of the Turks to proceed to the next stage. Greece kept their clean record with their sixth victory in six matches. 

The final tickets were handed over in the group 4 tournament in Torshavn, Faroe Islands. Italy were the first team to jump for joy after their close 29:28 win against Luxembourg.

Before the last encounter between the Faroe Islands and Latvia, the remaining three teams still could hope for the qualification, and the final team to make it through were the hosts, who leapfrogged Luxembourg after a 26:19 win against the Latvians. 

Finland, Estonia, Romania and Israel had already clinched their berths for the next stage, which will be played in March and also contain the lowest ranked teams currently competing at Men’s EHF EURO 2022.

Turkey vs. Greece 20:28 (11:14) 

  • Greece finished the group with maximum points, while two victories - against Belgium and Kosovo - were not enough for the Turks to proceed 
  • the 1:0 was the one and only Turkish lead, but the visitors needed some time to eventually see off their opponents. The biggest gap in the first half was four goals 
  • right at the start of the second half, Greece finally took full control of the match thanks to a 3:0 run to make it 14:19
  • Nikolaos Passias was the Greek top scorer with seven goals, while Enis Hacioglu topped the Turkish scorer list with four. 

Italy vs. Luxembourg 29:28 (18:14)

  • less than 20 hours after their extremely unlucky 26:27 defeat against hosts Faroe Islands, Italy hit back with a crucial one goal-win against Luxembourg. 
  • after Luxembourg had beaten the hosts in their opener and tied with Latvia, a draw would have been enough for them, but one goal was missing to seal the deal, finally remaining one point behind the Italians, who had beaten Latvia on Friday. 
  • Italy’s key for the 18:14 half-time advantage was their 7:3 start – they then kept their distance, but right after the break, Luxembourg levelled the result for the first time at 21:21 
  • 26:26 was the last time the score was level before Nicola D’Antino sealed the deal and the ticket to the next stage by the 29:27 with two minutes left on the clock 
  • Top scorer for the Italians was Stefan Arcieri with 10 goals. Yann Hoffmann netted seven times for Luxembourg

Faroe Islands vs. Latvia 26:19 (17:10)  

  • Faroe Islands recovered from their opening defeat against Luxembourg and the last-second win against Italy to produce a dominant performance 
  • Latvia would have needed to win by eight goals to proceed, but the Faroe Islands pulled ahead to lead 17:10 at half-time to all but end Latvian hopes
  • in the second half, the gap was constantly between six and eight goals – with Latvia unable to threaten the hosts 
  • top scorers of this one-sided match were Austris Tuminskis by six goals for Latvia and Trondur Mikkelsen, who scored five times for the Faroes 

TEXT: Björn Pazen