The men’s qualifications for the European Championships, which will be held in late summer (August 27 – September 10), have started this evening.
Seventeen teams, split into four groups, take part in the qualifications. The top two teams from each group will advance to the European Championship, and join the teams which qualified according to the standings at the 2020 Europeans in Budapest: Hungary, Spain, Montenegro, Croatia (host), Serbia, Italy, Greece, and Russia
The first round in the only group with five teams (Group A, Kranj) was played today. Two days after a surprising win over Spain in the World League, France made a first step towards the European Championships in Split, beating Switzerland convincingly (25:3). Host Slovenia defeated Belgium
Participating teams: Germany, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belgium
Switzerland – France 3:25 (1:7, 1:5, 0:8,1:5)
Switzerland: Alfano 1, Bjelajac 1, Damjanov 1.
France: Bouet 7, Vernoux 4, Khasz 3, Marion Vernoux 3, Caumette 2, Izdinsky 2, Canonne 2, Vanpeperstraete 1, Piot 1.
Slovenia – Belgium 15:10 (4:3, 3:1, 5:3, 3:3)
Slovenia:Kadivec 3, Pus 3, Popovic 2, M.Nastran 2, Strin 1, Gostic 1, Pisavec 1, Rajsp 1, Lah 1.
Belgium: Dulin 3,Van Hoey 2, Van der Linden 2, Claes 2, Godeau 1
Germany and France, which finished 9th and 13th respectively at the 2020 European Championships, are favorites in Kranj. The French proved too strong for the neighbors from Switzerland. Germany will start in the tournament with the match against the Swiss in the morning session.
France and Germany will face each other tomorrow evening. That game will probably decide the group winner.
Host Slovenia is eager for challenges. The home team beat Belgium quite easily. Slovenia had a 4-goal lead already in the 12th minute (7:3). Tomorrow, the Slovenians will play against Switzerland. On the last two competition days, the hosts will try to surprise Germany or France and book a ticket for Split. But, it will be a demanding task.
February 18: France – Belgium (10:00), Switzerland – Germany (12:00), France – Germany (18:00), Slovenia – Switzerland (20:00)
Participating teams: Georgia, Slovakia, Belarus, Poland
February 18: Poland – Slovakia (17:00), Georgia – Belarus (19:00)
Participating teams: Romania, Malta, Lithuania, Ireland
February 18: Romania – Lithuania (17:00), Malta – Ireland (18:30)
Participating teams: Turkey, Netherlands, Ukraine, Israel
February 18: Turkey – Ukraine (16:30), Israel – Netherlands (18:00).
All times are local