There were just six games in Sibenik today as we saw more of Europe’s top sides battle to qualify for the quarter-finals. On a day of close games, the competition finally has the feel of a prestigious tournament where the games are exciting and competitive.
Spain won their second game of the competition but not without difficulty. Israel pushed the Spanish right to the end and have proved in this game that they are capable of challenging some of the top teams in this competition. In the other game in Group A, Great Britain bottled a three-goal lead in the last quarter against a determined Czech side who won the game with a goal nine seconds from time.
Elsewhere Russia put on an impressive performance against Germany and look in good shape to top group C.
In the other games today, the Netherlands narrowly defeated the French, Ukraine edged out the Turks and Malta won a hard-fought contest with Romania.
Group D, which includes Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria and Slovakia, did not play today, but are back in action tomorrow.
Spain really had to concentrate to ensure they defeated a technically very good Israeli side. Elisa Ana Portillo scored three times in a match that was entertaining from start to finish. Whilst Israel will be obviously disappointed to lose a game, Shunit Strugo’s side really could go far in this competition – particularly with the talents of Menakerman, Gazit, Levi and Yaacobi at their disposal. Israel will finish second in the group if they defeat Serbia tomorrow.
A goal nine seconds from time, courtesy of the suitably named Viktorie Bratkova, completed an inspired comeback by the Czech Republic against Great Britain. Despite leading by three goals in the last quarter, Great Britain threw away a guilt-edged chance to pick up a valuable win. Despite an outstanding individual performance from Caitlin Silk who scored four goals on the wing for the Brits, Great Britain did not have the conviction to see the game out and are rooted firmly to the bottom of the table.
Great Britain 10-11 Czech Republic (4-1, 2-2, 3-3, 1-5)
Israel 8 – 10 Spain (0-2, 3-5, 2-2, 3-1)
The Netherlands have made amends for their defeat to Greece by beating France. In an entertaining but low-scoring contest, the Dutch secured three points and still have the opportunity to finish second in the group.
After two defeats, Ukraine got their first win of the competition over Turkey. Anastasiia Zelenko netted three, while braces from Daria Rumiantseva and Kateryna Babak helped Oleksandra Myronenko’s side on their way.
Turkey 4 – 10 Ukraine (1-1, 0-3, 1-2, 2-4)
France 5-9 Netherlands (1-2, 1-3, 2-2, 1-2)
Russia continues to impress in Sibenik with a resounding win over Germany. Daria Bunakova of Dynamo Uralochka netted five times, while UNOST’ Moscow’s Anna Matskevich contributed four. Russia now look certain to secure the top spot in Group C and book their place in the quarter-finals.
Malta recovered well from a terrible defeat yesterday with a well-deserved victory over Romania. Kaia Agius proved the difference, scoring five times in the game.
The fixture between Germany and Croatia tomorrow evening will almost certainly determine who finishes second in the group.
Romania 8-11 Malta (1-0, 0-3, 3-4, 4-4)
Germany 2-16 Russia (0-1, 0-3, 1-8, 1-4)
Tomorrow’s fixtures (CET):
09:00 – Bulgaria vs Hungary – Group D
10:30 – Italy vs Slovakia – Group D
12:00 – Netherlands – Turkey – Group B
13:30 – Greece vs France – Group B
16:30 – Russia vs Romania – Group C
18:00 – Spain vs Great Britain – Group A
19:30 – Croatia vs Germany – Group C
21:00 – Serbia vs Israel – Group A