Croatia triumphs in Balkan duel
After the walk over in the first match against Italy Croatia was still hard to gauge. Are they still the level of the team that won gold in the last European championship? The result of the match says “yes”. Croatia wins easily 30:18 (16:9).
Who will be Germany’s opponent in the semi-final? That was the main question to be answered by the duel between Serbia and Croatia. Both teams had already won easily against Italy, the Serbians with an even higher goal-difference.
Whoever thought that the bronze winner of 2005 would be favourite for the duel was wrong. After a few minutes the champion already led 6:1.
But the Serbians hadn’t given up yet. The pursuit proved to be difficult though. Serbia was constantly stopped by the high standing Croatian defence while the Croatians spammed them with rapid counter-attacks and led 16:9 at half-time.
This didn’t change in the second half. Germany will have to keep an eye on the Croatian playmaker Oliver Lusic in the semi-final. He did whatever he wanted in the match against Serbia.
Coach Vojislav Bjegovic’s boys have more than just one player with individual qualities though. Tomislav Bosnjak has his back and Pero Jukic is just as good. Together they scored 15 goals for the 30:18 victory.
Goals Serbia: Brakocevic 1, Nikolic 4, Micanovic 3, Durakovic 2, Radojevic 4, Tutic 2, Tomicevic 2
Goals Croatia: Rozic 2, Perak 1, Lusic 3, Bosnjak 11, Jukic 2, Jusic 2, Crnojevic 6, Perak 2, Sculac 1
Russia wins first group position
The Turks fight well just for a short time. In the second half there is only one team playing. The 35:16 victory for Russia means good luck: they avoid to face Croatia in the semi-final already.
While Turkey only had a theoretical chance to enter the knock-out round Russia was determined to win the match with a 7 goal lead to replace Germany at top group position.
In spite of their 4:1 start though this mission was endangered seriously after 11 minutes when the Turks suddenly scored 3 goals in a row.
Further on the first half looked like a privat duel between the two stars Mustafa Ozbay and Murat Chomaev who both scored important goals for their teams. Since the Russian player eventually was backed-up by his team they were back to quota at half-time with 15:9.
With this comfortable lead the Sbornaja could play light-heartedly and they increased it almost by the minute. The Turks on the other hand struggled too much with referee decisions and lost the connection to the game. The bitter 16:35 defeat was the result.
The only positive news of the day for Turkey: Because of the better goal-quota compared to Denmark they play against Italy for place five on Friday at 17:00h.
Five hours earlier Russia as first in group A will meet Serbia.
Goals Russia: Dremkov 2, Panov 1, Skafar 3, Digurov 2, Storozhev 6, Kitaev 4, Chomaev 11, Maluev 1, Burykin 5
Goals Turkey: Ozcelik 1, Kilzilkaya 1, Denil 1, Gundogdu 1, Atak 1, Yilmaz 1, Ozbay 10
Germany grinds down Denmark and readies for the semi-finals
In the last match of the preliminaries Wolfgang Koch’s team wins thanks to a dead on target Sebastian Klein 31:16 (16:8). The outside left player scores 13 goals watched by handball idol Hans Lindberg. The next opponent has yet to be determined.
A tie would have been sufficient for the German team to reach the semi-finals. But that wasn’t good enough for the DGS-boys of course. As many goals as possible were to be scored to secure first of the group and to avoid facing Croatia in the semi-finals already. That worked well enough in the first minutes. After just a few attacks Germany was 3:0 ahead.
In the beginning the Danes had lots of problems with the referees’ rule interpretation: one unjust penalty after the other. Therefore the Scandinavians had to rely on strong individual performances like the one of Lars Löwig, who scored the first goal for his team from an almost impossible angle.
For the Germans the match ran smoothly which led to a 16:8 lead till half-time.
The previous day the Russians, who were fighting for first of the group against Germany, had won with 13 goals difference. Germany had scored an equal lead in the first 45 minutes after a powerful goal by Sebastian Klein from the back. But that wasn’t the end of the German goal-hunt. In the last 15 minutes of the match they raised the score to a 31:16 result.
Felix Werling who scored five goals told us that he hoped for Serbia as opponent for the semi-final. Whether or not this wish will be fulfilled will be decided in the last preliminary match between Serbia and Croatian.
Goals Germany: Lauckner 4, Kinnback 2, Petersen 5, Schaknies 2, Werling 5, Klein 13
Goals Denmark: Trillingsgaard 3, Löwig 8, Jensen 2, Kleczewski 2, Klold 1