As the first two teams of the European playoffs, Sweden and Romania have booked their tickets for the 23rd Women’s World Championship in Germany (1 to 17 December 2017). While the Scandinavians had another easy-going walk in the park in the second leg against the chanceless Macedonians on Tuesday, the 2015 World Championship bronze medallist were shaken in Austria, but decided the re-match in the last 20 minutes.
The remaining seven matches of the second leg will be carried out on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sweden vs FYR Macedonia 46:27 (26:11)
After the comprehensive 31:20 (12:9) away win at FYR Macedonia, Sweden had sealed the deal even before Tuesday’s throw-off. But the Scandinavians were eager to show a full-speed performance with a brilliant attack to their fans in Ystad - and ended up with a true goal parade. After an express start, it took the hosts only 21 minutes to be ahead with a double-digit advance at 19:9, as the Balkan side surrendered early and were overran by series of counter attacks, the gap were 15 goals already at the break. In the second half, the gap was constantly between 16 and 19 goals.
Except the goalkeepers and defence specialist Sabina Jacobsen, all Swedes scored, topped by the three wing players, Louise Sand (9), Natalie Hagman and Daniela Gustin (7 each).
To be part of Germany 2017 will be the ninth appearance at Women’s World Championships for the Swedish side - in contrast to their men, they never won a medal in intercontinental competitions. In 2015, they finished ninth ranked after losing the eighth-final against host Denmark.
Austria vs Romania 24:33 (13:11)
The finally clear final result does not reflect the rundown of the match, in which the Austrians could hope for a major sensation until minute 38. The team of Romanian born head coach Herbert Müller was constantly ahead - intermediately by even three goals after losing the first leg at Romania 29:34. Steered by Sonja Frey, who scored five goals before the break, the hosts had taken the upper hand. At the 15:12, the Romanians were extremely shaken, until the 19:18 in minute 39, Austria were still ahead. But then the tide turned completely: Backed by the goals of current IHF World Handball Player of the Year, Cristina Neagu (8 goals), the 2015 World Championship bronze medallists netted in a 12:2 series within 13 minutes for the 30:21 - the final Austrian resistance had been broken.
Thus, Romania continue their series to be part of all indoor World Championships since 1957, in 1962 they were gold medallists, 1973 and 2005 they took the silver medals.
By today, those teams are confirmed for Germany 2017:
Europe: Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Sweden, Romania
Asia: Korea, Japan, China
Africa: Angola, Tunisia, Cameroon
The draw for the preliminary round groups will take place in Hamburg on 27 June (14:00 hrs. local time).