The second day of the first round of the IHF Women’s World Championship 2017 in Germany didn’t bring any big surprises as the favorites took confident victories and big steps to the final tournament.
Italy – Serbia 23-33 (11-16)
Best scorers for Italy: B. Del Balzo, L. Rotondo 7-7
Best scorers for Serbia: Z. Nikolic, S. Pop-Lazic 5-5
Serbia and Italy have met recently in the EHF EURO 2016 qualification group and Serbia has already proven they are a lot better than Italy, so they were expected to beat this obstacle easily. Right from the start, the Serbian girls made it clear that they don’t want to leave any questions open for the second match. Even though Italy had some better period and showed some nice things on the court, there were no doubts about the Serbian superiority in Padova. Serbia dominated throughout the whole match and took a confident, 10-goal away victory which means the Serbian team can already start packing the bags for the big tournament.
Hungary – Slovakia 28-19 (14-8)
Best scorers for Hungary: A. Görbicz 9, N. Schatzl 6
Best scorers for Slovakia: M. Skolkova 6, L. Jakubisova 3
Even though Hungarian head coach Kim Rasmussen had to miss players like Zita Szucsánszki, Zsuzsanna Tomori or Dóra Hornyák due to injuries, it didn’t mean Slovakia would be any trouble for the Hungarians on the road to Germany. Hungary was looking for an advantage as big as possible and they started the match this way, from the beginning, they were in control of the game. Slovakia was close behind at 10-8 but mostly thanks to Blanka Bíró’s saves and captain Anita Görbicz’s goals, Hungary was already up to 6 goals after the first half. This difference only kept growing between the two sides as in the end of the first and in the beginning of the second half, 8 Hungarian goals remained unanswered by the Slovakians. Although the difference grew to two digits, Hungary took a 9-goal victory. That can hardly be turned around by the Slovakians in Bratislava.
Croatia – Slovenia 23-28 (10-15)
Best scorers for Croatia: K. Plahinek 5, M. Koznjak 4
Best scorers for Slovenia: N. Irman, T. Mavsar 6-6
Previously, this duel seemed to be the closest one in two matches but with this renewed Croatian squad, Slovenia had the chances on their side. Slovenia was in control of the game most of the time as they were leading from the first minutes of the game. Already after 30 minutes played, the Slovenians were up by 5 goals which meant they are on the way to a very important away victory. Croatia wasn’t able to come much closer to the guests as Slovenia was keeping the lead throughout the whole second half. The Slovenian girls took a very important victory and a huge step towards Germany: this 5-goal difference will be very hard to turn around in Celje next week.
Czech Republic – Turkey 29-25 (15-15)
Best scorers for the Czech Republic: M. Hrbkova 11, M. Jerabkova 6
Best scorers for Turkey: A. Iskit, Y. Özel 6-6
The match between the Czech Republic and Turkey turned out to be the most exciting on the second day of the qualification. The first half was a true roller coaster ride as both sides had 3-4-goal leads during the first 30 minutes of the game. After the first half, the match was looking undecided but the Czech girls arrived to the second half on fire: with four goals unanswered by Turkey, they put themselves in a more comfortable position. However, the Turkish team didn’t give up and after just 50 minutes played, the match was even again. The last 10 minutes worked out better for the hosts and the Czech Republic took an important 4-goal victory, but the return leg in Turkey next week will be anything but easy for the Czech team.
FYR Macedonia – Sweden 20-31 (9-12)
Best scorers for Macedonia: E. Gjeorgjievska 7, E. Livrinikj 4
Best scorers for Sweden: I. Gulldén, O. Mellegard, L. Sand, U. Toft Hansen 4-4
Looking at the pairing, there shouldn’t be any question about which team would qualify for the world championship. Sweden didn’t intend to leave any questions open for the second match, they arrived to Macedonia with the clear goal to decide the duel in the first leg. The Swedish girls started this way, they took control of the game in the first minutes and remained in control for the whole match. After a closer second half that ended by a three-goal Swedish lead, in the second half, Macedonia was outplayed by the guests. The difference grew to two digits in favor of the Scandinavians and Sweden’s goal was reached: there are no open questions in this duel any more.