Turkey and Belgium head to EHF EURO 2024 Qualification Phase 2
While the final tournament of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 is reaching its business end in Hungary and Slovakia, the Relegation Round of the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 is in full swing this weekend, with two other teams joining Finland in the Qualification Phase 2.
Turkey sealed their second win in four days against Cyprus, 29:26, and took a convincing 64:54 aggregate win, while Belgium capitalised on their first-leg win against Luxembourg, progressing courtesy of a 59:53 aggregate victory.
Meanwhile, Latvia look certain to join them after taking a 36:23 win against Bulgaria in the double-header scheduled this weekend, with the second leg taking place on Sunday.
Latvia vs Bulgaria 36:23 (18:10)
- both legs of this double-header are being played in Dobete, Latvia, with the hosts taking full advantage of their home court in the first match, with the second leg scheduled for Sunday
- star right back Dainis Kristopans did not play an influential role in the first leg for Latvia, scoring only once
- Latvia’s left back Nils Kreicbergs and left wing Nikita Pancenko combined for 21 goals, the latter also scoring five of his team’s first six goals
- Bulgaria have now won only three of their last 29 games played in the EHF EURO Qualification Phase
- the Baltic side had not scored 36 goals in an EHF EURO Qualification game since June 2012, when they secured a 36:10 win against Malta
Cyprus vs Turkey 26:29 (11:14)
Turkey win on aggregate, 64:54
- Turkey picked up where they left off in the first leg, taking an early 8:5 lead and never looked back
- Cyprus lost their last four games played in the EHF EURO Qualification phase, one of their worst streaks ever, after losing six games in a row between 2012 and 2015
- after scoring 11 goals in the first leg, Cypriot left wing Christos Argyrou, the most experienced player in the squad, enjoyed a seven-goal display, but could not prevent defeat
- right wing Gokcem Bicer was Turkey’s top scorer in the game, with 12 goals from 16 shots, three days after putting another seven goals past Cyprus in the first leg
- Turkey progressed to the Qualification Phase 2 of the EHF EURO for the fourth time in the last six attempts
Belgium vs Luxembourg 27:27 (13:13)
Belgium win on aggregate, 59:53
- Luxembourg had won only one of their last nine competitive matches before this one, but took advantage of Belgium’s woes
- the turning point of the game looked to be a 7:3 run for the hosts, spurred by left wing Felix Werdel, between the 33rd and the 44th minutes
- however, a well-taken timeout by coach Yerime Sylla turned the game around for Belgium, who embarked on their own 5:1 run, with three goals from centre back Serge Spooren
- Spooren, who had scored three goals in the first leg, was Belgium’s top scorer in this game, putting eight goals past Luxembourg
- Luxembourg have now failed to win any of their last four games in the EHF EURO Qualification stage, while Belgium progressed to the Qualification Phase 2 of the European premium tournament for the fourth time in a row