Slovenia cruise to group win; Netherlands defeat Poland
Although the Netherlands won the group 5 clash against Poland on Sunday evening, Poland ended up being the team to celebrate as their place at the EHF EURO 2022 was booked. While the Netherlands took the court with their place at the final tournament already certain, their win secured second spot on the table while Poland placed third and picked up one of the best third-ranked team tickets to the final tournament.
Meanwhile, EHF EURO 2020 semi-finalists Slovenia ended their 2022 qualifiers campaign with a comfortable win against Turkey, 39:24, that clinched them first place on the group 5 table.
The victory against Turkey was Slovenia’s second in the qualifiers and fourth overall, to which they also added one draw, versus the Netherlands. Turkey placed last in the group after six defeats, meaning they will have to play in the relegation round for the EHF Euro 2024 with Luxembourg and three other teams to be determined in this year's IHF/EHF Trophy competition in Georgia (15-21 June).
Netherlands vs Poland 32:30 (17:16)
• the Netherlands finished with a close win of two goals but had the lead steadily throughout the game, with their victory all but sure at 30:26 when Kay Smits struck at the 55-minute mark
• the last advantage for Poland was at 10:9 in the 17th minute. After that, the Netherlands grabbed the upper hand and never allowed even an equaliser
• Kay Smits, the second top scorer of the qualifiers behind Switzerland’s Andy Schmid, tallied eight goals and took his overall score to 56
• 13 saves from goalkeeper Bart Ravensbergen helped the Netherlands keep Poland at bay
• it was the fourth win in the qualifiers for the Netherlands, who also took one draw, versus Slovenia. Poland earned three victories in the qualifiers and had the same number of losses
Historic second for the Netherlands
The Netherlands finished their campaign with the same record as table leaders Slovenia but were second due to losing the head-to-head result versus the EHF EURO 2020 semi-finalists.
Nevertheless, the Netherlands have booked their second consecutive EHF EURO participation, following their debut at the 2020 edition. After finishing 17th at the EHF EURO 2020, the Netherlands will aim to improve their ranking at the final tournament in Hungary and Slovakia.