Netherlands and Spain stay perfect at W17 EHF Championships
At their respective Women's 17 EHF Championships in Lithuania and Georgia, Spain and the Netherlands maintained their perfect records as the preliminary round drew to a close.
- Spain beat North Macedonia 27:24 on Wednesday to confirm their status as group winners. Spain finished the preliminary round with a perfect record of four wins from four matches
- North Macedonia secured their place in the semi-finals after a nail-biting 21:20 win over Finland on Thursday
- Finland appeared on course for victory when Jannie Grönmark gave them a two-goal lead, 20:18, with less than five minutes to play, but North Macedonia's three unanswered goals confirmed their progression
- in the match that would decide first place in group B, Poland and Iceland drew 23:23. Iceland's 23rd goal of the game was only goal scored in the last nine minutes
- Poland finished top of group B courtesy of scoring more goals in all group matches than Iceland
- Iceland will face Spain in Saturday's first semi-final, while Poland will meet North Macedonia in the second semi-final
Spain have best attack and defence in Lithuania
At the end of the preliminary round in Lithuania, Spain have scored the most goals and conceded the fewest. Spain's joint-top scorers Eider Poles Olucha and Ester Somaza Bosch have both scored 17 goals, which is not as many as Turkey's Irmak Akbingol (29 goals), but the team's depth enabled them to top group A with relative ease.
- the Netherlands continued their brilliant form in their last two group matches, scoring a total of 80 goals against Georgia and Ukraine
- despite suffering an 18-goal defeat against the Netherlands in the last group match, Ukraine's 33:12 victory against Luxembourg sealed their semi-final place
- Ukraine's Karina Soskyda (18 goals) is one of the joint-top scorers in Georgia after the completion of the preliminary round
- Serbia's goal difference (+26) saw them top the group ahead of the Faroe Islands (+23) after both teams finished level on five points
- Serbia needed a comeback from a two-goal deficit at half-time to beat Italy (28:25) in a hard-fought match on Thursday
- the Netherlands will meet the Faroe Islands in Friday's first semi-final, while Serbia will face Ukraine in the second semi-final
Are the Netherlands on course for another EHF Championship title?
Earlier in the summer, the Netherlands won the W19 EHF Championship in North Macedonia, beating Poland 26:23 in the final, and their performances in the W17 event in Georgia will fill them with confidence that they can collect another title.
With three matches played on court, the Netherlands have not conceded more than 11 goals in a match. 17-year-old Jalisha Loy was part of the Dutch team that played in Skopje. Against Ukraine on Thursday, Loy played a key part in attack in her side's victory, scoring nine goals from 10 shots.