Race to quarter-finals heats up in Izmir
With all teams having played three or four matches on Thursday and Friday – the opening two days of the YAC 17 Beach Handball EURO 2023 in Izmir – the fight for the coveted quarter-final spots will be decided when the preliminary round ends Saturday morning.
Some teams know they are already through, others are still in with a chance: the race to the quarter-finals is truly on!
Three teams in the men’s competition – Croatia in group A, Spain and France in group B – and four teams in the women’s competition – Spain in group A, Hungary in group B, Germany and Netherlands in group C – are still unbeaten after two days of play.
The top two teams from all groups plus the two best third-ranked teams advance to the quarter-finals, which are scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The semi-finals and the medal matches are on Sunday, with the men’s final at 15:30 CEST and the women’s final at 16:30 CEST.
- Group A: junior world champions Croatia are cruising with three wins from three matches, with a duel against Ukraine coming up; Norway look favourite to join Croatia as one of the top-two teams with a group closer against Czech Republic
- Group B: Spain and France have locked up to the top two spots with the maximum six points each before they meet in the last group match; Netherlands and Poland will have a direct duel for the third place.
- Group C: things could not be closer, with the top four teams – including defending champions Hungary – all level on four points; the winners of the two matches Hungary vs Germany and Sweden vs Portugal will finish first and second.
- Croatia’s Simun Jerkan is the leading scorer so far with 51 points, ahead of Turkish duo Okan Cakmak (49) and Egehan Gül (47).
- Group A: unbeaten leaders Spain, the 2022 junior world champions, meet second-place Ukraine in the final group game; Portugal take on hosts Türkiye with all teams in with a chance to qualify for the knockout phase.
- Group B: defending champions Hungary are yet to drop a set this competition, while Sweden with six points from four matches are also through; Norway (playing Bulgaria) and Poland (playing Hungary) will fight for the third spot.
- Group C: Germany and Netherlands have been dominating this group before their duel on Saturday, as Netherlands recorded the biggest win in a single set (+17 points, 27:10 in first set against France); Croatia and France meet each other Saturday with third place at stake.
- Germany lead the top scorers standings with Pauline Borrmann (51 points) and Dilayla Alarslan (47) on the top two spots; Spain’s Lucia Martinez Dominguez follows on 40.
photos © Uros Hocevar, Jure Erzen / kolektiff