29.10.2017, 07:44
Netherlands make it two from two

REVIEW: The Netherlands top Group 5 after a win versus Belgium, while Slovakia and Turkey claim their first victories in World Championship 2019 Qualification Phase 1.

Netherlands make it two from two

Round 2 of World Championship 2019 Qualification Phase 1 matches finished on Sunday evening, with victories for the Netherlands, Slovakia and Turkey.

After Group 6 completed Round 2 on Saturday, Groups 1 and 5 were in focus on Sunday. Groups 2, 3 and 4 will be played in a tournament format in January 2018.

In Group 1, a squad effort earned Slovakia a decisive 36:19 win versus Luxembourg, adding the first two points to the group table for the hosts of Sunday’s match. Slovakia had little trouble controlling their visitors, keeping Luxembourg under 10 goals in the first half, with a 19:6 lead at half-time.

At the final whistle, no less than 12 players had contributed to the hosts’ 36 goals, with David Michalka the top scorer with five.

After the opening two qualification matches, Slovakia are second on the Group 1 table behind Russia, against whom they lost 22:32 in the opening match. Russia count four points from two victories, Slovakia tally two, and Finland and Luxembourg have each collected one thanks to the draw in their direct encounter in Round 1.

The first Group 5 encounter saw a much closer contest, as the Netherlands took a 26:25 win away against Belgium. The game was neck-and-neck most of the way, with the visitors occasionally opening a lead of one or two goals before their hosts came back to level.


At half-time, the Netherlands held a 14:12 advantage, but Belgium started the second period stronger and the match was equal through to the final minutes.

Bobby Schagen was the top scorer for the Dutch, with seven goals, while Thomas Cauwenberghs led Belgium with six.

Greece and Turkey wrapped up Round 2 for Group 5 with Turkey taking a clear victory away in Maroussi. After a slow start for the visitors allowed Greece to create an early advantage, Turkey claimed the upper hand in the last 10 minutes of the first half to hold a 14:8 lead at the break.

In the second 30 minutes, Turkey continued to pull ahead, finishing with a 25:19 result in their favour.

After two matches in Phase 1, the Netherlands sit on top of Group 5 with four points, Turkey are second with three, Belgium rank third with one after a draw in their opener versus Turkey, and Greece are fourth on zero.

The next World Championship 2019 Qualification matches will be played in January 2018.

TEXT: Courtney Gahan

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