Spain became the first team that qualified for the quarterfinals of the European U17 Championships in Malta.
After a 15:6 victory over Romania on Day 2, the Spaniards secured 1st place in Group B. There are a lot of open questions in the other three groups.
The second day of the tournament saw several interesting games. However, there were no big surprises, although some of the favorites collected points much harder than expected.
The Netherlands, which surprised Italy yesterday, caused some headaches to Montenegro, but it suffered a narrow loss (7:8).
Serbia and Croatia recorded hard-fought wins, as well as Montenegro.
Serbia defeated Georgia with a 4-goal difference (17:13). Still, the Serbs had to fight hard to earn three points. They broke the Georgians in the final four minutes.
The encounter between Croatia beat Malta was very similar to the duel Serbia – Georgia. The Croats defeated the hosts harder than expected, but they secured a win in time (10:6)
An encounter between Russia and Germany was very exciting. The Russians recorded a 9:8 victory thanks to a last-gasp goal.
Hungary, Greece, and Italy beat their rivals convincingly.
Ukraine – Italy 5:10 (0:2, 0:4, 2:2, 3:2)
Netherlands – Montenegro 7:8 (3:5, 1:0, 1:2, 2:1)
The Dutch, who surprised Italy yesterday, had a dream start against Montenegro. Less than two minutes passed, they already had a 2:0 lead. Montenegro responded with a 4:0 series for 4:2 and maintained a 2-goal difference until the end of the first quarter (5:3). The Netherlands managed to half the distance twice (4:5, 5:6). Still, the Montenegrins entered the last quarter with a 7:5 lead. Early in the fourth period, Montenegro’s goalkeeper Bjelica saved a penalty shot. Immediately after, Vukicevic scored from a distance to give Montenegro an 8:5 lead. But, the big battle wasn’t over yet. The Dutch reduced the gap (7:8) and had a possession to equalize but failed to score, and Montenegro kept the win.
Italy defeated Ukraine 10:5. Everything was clear after a 6:0 first half. Italy still has a chance to climb to 1st place. The Italians will finish atop the group and secure the quarterfinals if they record a 3-goal victory over Montenegro tomorrow. The Montenegrins need a point to keep 1st place. The Netherlands also can finish 1st. If three teams finish with equal points, the results among these teams will be decisive for the final standings. Yesterday, the Dutch beat Italy by three goals (8:5).
1 Montenegro 2 – 6
2 Netherlands 2 – 3*
3 Italy 2 – 3*
4 Ukraine 2 – 0
*Head-to-head: Netherlands – Italy 8:5
Day 3: Ukraine – Netherlands, Italy – Montenegro.
Romania – Spain 6:15 (2:4, 1:4, 3:4, 0:3)
Malta – Croatia 6:10 (2:1, 1:4, 2:2, 1:3)
The Spaniards left no chance to Romania. They opened the match with a quick 4:0 lead and controlled everything in the pool. Spain cruised to a 15:6 win.
Malta was a tough opponent to Croatia. The hosts took an opening 2:0 lead. Early in the third period, Malta was one step ahead of the rival (3:2). After that, Croatia kept Malta scoreless for ten minutes, while it scored four straight goals for a 6:4 lead. Malta halved the deficit (5:6) in the 22nd minute. The Croats answered with a new 4:0 series, to jump to a 10:5 lead (30th minute). The Maltese scored a consolation goal in the remaining time.
1 Spain 2 – 6
2 Croatia 2 – 3 (+3)
3 Romania 2 – 3 (-7)
4 Malta 2 – 0
Day 3: Spain – Malta, Croatia – Romania
Belarus – Hungary 6:19 (2:5, 1:4, 2:4, 1:6)
Russia – Germany 9:8 (2:3, 4:1, 2:2, 1:2)
Hungary, led by Peter Mikos Szalai, who scored six goals, demolished Belarus and made a new step towards the quarterfinals.
Both teams had ups and downs in the game Russia – Germany. The Russians dictated the pace for most of the time. Deep into the third quarter, Russia built a 6:3 lead. The Germans started coming back step-by-step and leveled at 6:6 in the middle of the third period. Still, Russia entered the final period with an 8:6 advantage. But, Germany was able to come back again and caught up with the rival a minute before the final buzzer (8:8). Russia’s Golubkov scored an action goal just 22 seconds before the end to give the Russians a valuable 9:8 victory.
1 Hungary 2 – 6
2 Russia 2 – 3*
3 Germany 2 – 3*
4 Belarus 2- 0
*Head-to-head: Russia – Germany 9:8
Day 3: Hungary – Germany, Russia – Belarus
Turkey – Greece 5:16 (1:5, 1:3, 2:4, 1:4)
Georgia – Serbia 13:17 (3:3, 6:5, 2:4, 2:5)
Greece and Serbia recorded two wins each in two days, and they will battle for first place in the group tomorrow.
Greece outplayed Turkey, while Serbia had to overcome troubles to beat Georgia.
Even 17 goals were scored in the first half of the encounter between Georgia and Serbia. Georgia led in the opening minutes (1:0, 2:1, 3:2). However, the Serbs had a 2-goal advantage midway through the second period (6:4, 7:5), but Georgia was in front at halftime (9:8). The third quarter brought new turns. Georgia was in front in the 18th minute (10:9). In the middle of the quarter, the Serbs scored two goals within 50 seconds and gained an 11:10 advantage. The Georgians equalized shortly after (11:11). Ten seconds before the last break, Serbia’s Urosevic converted a man-up for 12:11. Defenses worked well in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, and it stood 11:12 on the scoreboard for a while. But, the Serbs produced a 4:0 series between the 27th and 31st minute. They secured a comfortable 16:11 advantage with 87 seconds left on the clock.
The Serbs will remain atop the group if they don’t lose to Greece tomorrow because they have a better goal difference.
1 Serbia 2 – 6 (+18)
2 Greece 2- 6 (+15)
3 Georgia 2 – 0 (-8)
4 Turkey 2 – 0 (-25)
Day 3: Serbia – Greece, Georgia – Turkey