Austria first team to book a ticket to Germany
Austria are the first of 20 teams to book their ticket for the EHF EURO 2024 in their neighbour country Germany. Turning a 17:22 deficit into a 31:28 win against Ukraine on Saturday night was their fourth win in as many matches. For the sixth time in total and the fourth consecutive time, the Austrians will be part of a Men’s EHF EURO final tournament. In the same group, Romania took two important points against the Faroe Islands.
Romanian took revenge for the surprising 26:28 defeat in the first duel against the Faroe Islands on Wednesday. With their second victory, head coach Xavi Pascual’s side is back on track for a ticket to the EHF EURO 2024.
The Scandinavians were only at an equal level in the early phases of the match. When Romania’s defence improved, the hosts extended the gap goal by goal. The game was decided by the 44th minute, when Alexandru Tarita scored to put Romania 22:13 up.
Both goalkeepers had a great day, as Ionut Iancu saved 15 shots and his Faroese counterpart Nicolas Satchwell made 14 saves. But in the end, Romania’s attack was much more efficient, topped by a trio who netted four times each: Tarita, Javier Humet and Demis Grigiras. Hakun West Av Teigun also scored four to be the best striker for the Faroes, who remain on two points.
Xavi Pascual, head coach, Romania: “The team played well, the boys of Romania were responsive. This is very important, we showed self confidence and I am happy for the good result against a strong team.”
Ionut Iancu, goalkeeper, Romania: “This was the match that could take us to the EHF EURO 2024. We have to give our best and I am glad we were able to do it. This was also important because we had to overcome the three-goal deficit.”
Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen, head coach, Faroe Islands: “Today we had difficulties scoring enough goals, as the goalkeeper had a very good performance, a match winner, with so many open chances that we missed. Both goalkeepers were MVPs today. We have a chance to qualify and we will chase it. We will build for the future, even with a small population of 53,000 people in the Faroe Islands.”
Boosted by the strikes of current EHF European League top scorer Ihor Turchenko, who scored four of his eight goals before the break, and seven saves by goalkeeper Gennadii Komok, Ukraine looked strong in the first half. The visitors managed to slow down the pace compared to their 31:38 defeat in the first leg this week and Austria did not find the means to find the gaps in the solid defence.
But things changed after minute 40, right after Ukraine had pulled ahead for their first five-goal margin at 22:17. Austrian goalkeeper Thomas Eichberger started shutting up his shop and within six minutes, the hosts scored a 6:0 run to take a 23:22 lead. Nikola Bilyk extended the lead to three goals in the 53rd minute. With six goals, Kiel star Bilyk was Austrian top scorer and another three players – Robert Weber, Boris Zivkovic and Lukas Hutecek – netted five times, combining for 21 of Austria’s 31 goals.
Austria are top of the group, four points ahead of Romania and six ahead of both the Faroe Islands and Ukraine.