14 Jan. 2020
Israel, Lithuania and Romania joined Turkey in the second stage of European qualification for the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship on Sunday evening, when the three nations secured first place in their respective phase one tables.
Turkey played their qualification event over three days in October, defeating Belgium and Estonia to top Group 4 and thereby securing a place in the second stage.
Group 2 began their campaigns in late October, but their matches were spread over several rounds, culminating in the final games on 11 and 12 January. The decision as to who won the group came down to the last match between Israel and Greece, where a 24:22 victory saw Israel move to nine points on the table – one ahead of Greece.
Greece had won the first clash between the pair, in October, by one goal, and it was this result that prevented Israel from finishing the phase with an unbeaten record. Israel also had one draw, versus Finland, in their penultimate match, alongside four victories.
Lithuania and Romania both won their groups thanks to perfect records. The teams in Groups 1 and 3 had to play only one match against each of their opponents. Lithuania earned decisive wins against Faroe Islands and Luxembourg before edging Slovakia by just one goal to secure top of the group. Romania beat Georgia, Kosovo and Italy to place first in Group 3.
The top scorer of the first stage of qualification was Cyprus’ Julios Argyrou, with 41 goals.
The four group winners are now set for the intermediate stage of the European qualification for the 2021 World Championship in Egypt.
The intermediate stage will be comprised of a series of two-leg play-offs, to be played in April 2020. The winners of the intermediate stage will continue to the final play-offs in June, where the continent’s nine places at Egypt 2021 will be decided.
More information on the first stage of European qualification for the 2021 Men’s World Championship can be found on the EHF website.
PHOTOS: ISRAEL HANDBALL FEDERATION / CITRUS VAN KOLA