26/09/2019

Hard task for the Netherlands, low hurdle for Spain

QUALIFIERS REVIEW 2: A weak 10 minutes let the Netherlands get the better of Austria, while Spain ran over Greece

The Netherlands beat Austria after a close first half

Two group 1 matches concluded round 1 of the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 qualifiers. Former EHF EURO medallists Spain (silver in 2014) and the Netherlands (silver in 2016 and bronze in 2018) won their openers, but while the Dutch side was extremely challenged by Austria, Spain had no problems to leave Greece behind.

  • A 6:0 run in the second half was decisive for the Dutch   
  • Eight goals by Sonja Frey were not enough for Austria
  • Greece only scored four goals in the last 16 minutes against Spain

GROUP 1

Netherlands vs Austria 32:24 (13:13)

Herbert Müller seemingly cannot beat Emmanuel Mayonnade. As in the EHF Champions League, when Mayonnade’s Metz beat Müller’s Thüringer HC twice in the 2017/18 season, now Austria, coached by Müller, were defeated.

But the final result does not reflect the rundown of the match. For more than 40 minutes, the Dutch side had extreme problems with the cleverly defending Austrians, who waited patiently for their chances in attack.

Without their back court aces Nycke Groot, Maura Visser, who have both retired from international competition, and also missing the injured Estevana Polman, the Netherlands did not find the gaps and could not start their fast match play.

Then, one single action at the score of 20:20 changed everything: Austria’s Mirela Dedic received a two-minute suspension for blocking the ball in attack and the Dutch struck back with three unanswered goals in those two minutes.

Austria were shocked and two time-outs within four minutes could not stop the downswing. Netting in six straight counter-attacks, including four assists from goalkeeper Tess Wester, the Netherlands forged ahead to 26:20. The Austrian resistance was broken and the game was effectively won after a 10:1 series from the hosts.

The best scorers were Sonja Frey with eight goals for Austria, while Dutch duo Kelly Dulfer and Bo van de Wetering scored six goals each.

Spain vs Greece 33:18 (15:9)

In a one-sided match, Greece lacked the means, the experience and the power to stand strong against the hosts and gave Carlos Vizer’s side the chance to experiment.

Spain scored from all positions. After the half-time score of 15:9, Spain extended the gap easily to the first double-figured margin of 24:14 in the 43rd minute - and then the last glimpse of Greek resistance was broken, as the visitors only scored four times in the remaining 16 minutes.

The final result of 33:18 is nevertheless a lower margin than the average gap between the two sides in their six previous matches – 19.8 goals – and is the second-closest game Spain and Greece have played since 1991.

written by Björn Pazen / jh