Women’s Olympic Qualifying: Montenegro and Russia advance in convincing manner

Handball in London: this is the place

Just like in the men’s qualifying event last month, there is not much left to decide on the final day. Two of the three groups are already settled, with France, Montenegro, Denmark and Russia having secured their places. To some extent, this is due to the unfortunate game sequence; with two teams out of four qualifying from each group, it does not make sense to have the games 1 vs. 2 and 3 vs. 4 on the final day. Instead, it would make sense to have 2 vs. 3 to maintain more suspense.

This would have meant that Croatia and the Netherlands would have a directly deciding game tomorrow. Instead they must depend on the efforts of a Spanish team that can afford to lose against Croatia. If they lose by one or two goals, they will still win the group, and the Dutch are out. If Spain win by three to six goals, they still qualify as runner-up, and with Croatia as group winner. In a normal game tomorrow, Spain should win on the basis of the level they and Croatia has shown until now, but who knows what might happen when winning is not strictly necessary.

In the other groups, France and Denmark did their job against Japan and the Dominican Republic, respectively. Montenegro had an easier time than expected, but it was tough for Romania to keep up in the absence of Neagu and after an early injury for Vizitiu. The final score was 34-23. Russia had the advantage of having observed Tunisia on the first day, so they were not about to get caught by surprise. But at an early stage they were unable to pull away, managing only a 9-7 lead. However, then the Russian machine had the steam up, and the result changed to 17-7 and 27-10, before they relaxed a bit and allowed a final score of 33-20.