So, the Preliminary Round gives way to the Main Round and it’s starting to become just that bit clearer who’s looking strong in Serbia …
After the first day’s Main Round action it is Montengro who are sitting pretty atop Group I. The Olympic silver-medallists looked to have done enough early on against Hungary to have a comfortable second half – leading 15:10 at the interval. But by the 50th minute the scores were level at 22:22 and it took two late goals from Katarina Bulatovic to give Montenegro the points with a 28:26 victory.
A clear margin of victory was what Romania enjoyed, somewhat surprisingly, against Spain. At one point the Romanians had a ten-point lead before they relaxed a bit – it finished 31:26. Spain’s biggest enemy seemed to be wayward shooting whereas Romania could call on seven goals apiece from Iulia Curea and Cristina Neagu. The result leaves Spain in a difficult position if they want to reach the semi finals – Romania will be looking for momentum.
The final match ended in a draw, which probably pleases no one but is a particular kicker for Germany who should have put the match away after building an early five goal lead. As it was, a frantic final minute in which both teams had potentially match-winning shots blocked, means both can claim either a point won or lost depending on mood. What it does mean is that neither is likely to progress to the semi final stages without something miraculous happening.
In today’s games the Czech Republic need to get something against Denmark if they are to have any hope of the semi finals, Norway and France renew their rivalry, and Serbia and Sweden will both be marking this as a must win game. Handball Views is going for wins for Denmark, Norway and Serbia. It all starts at 3.10pm UK, live on YouTube.