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Macedonia exelent first half and heroic Montenegro squad in Sweden

kire riker

The first part of the European play-offs for the 2013 Men's World Championship has been played – and nearly nothing is decided before the rematches at the upcoming weekend. The biggest gaps were scored by Iceland (41:27 against Netherlands) and the Germans after their 36:24 win over Bosnia, followed by a clear Polish away victory in Lithuania (24:17)

Some top teams will have to struggle hard to reach the final destination Spain, like 2011 World Championship host Sweden after their surprisingly close 22:21 victory over the unexpectedly strong team from Montenegro. After missing the 2011 World Championships, record World Champion Russia is again close to a failure after their 23:22 win over the Czech team including former World Handball Player Filip Jicha.

A team that has good chances to qualify for the first ever men's IHF event in Spain, played in January 2013, is Slovenia after their 31:26 victory against Portugal, FYR Macedonia, which beat Austria 26:21 thanks to the goals of their top star Kiril Lazarov, and the Hungarians who did not only defeat Norway in the top duel 27:21, but again have world class player Laszlo Nagy returning to their squad. Belarus achieved a surprising 26:24 away victory in Slovakia – and has opened the gate to Spain widely.

Result summary of the first leg:

Russia vs. Czech Republic 23:22 (11:12)
Slovenia vs. Portugal 31:26 (11:10)
Germany vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina 36:24 (18:7)
Slovakia vs. Belarus 24:26 (10:12)
FYR Macedonia vs. Austria 26:21 (16:10)
Lithuania vs. Poland 17:24 (9:12)
Hungary vs. Norway 27:21 (12:10)
Sweden vs. Montenegro 22:21 (12:10)
Iceland vs. Netherlands 41:27 (17:14)

Five European teams have already qualified for the upcoming Men's World Championship: Spain (organizer), France, (defending champion), Denmark (European Champion), Serbia (silver medallist at the 2012 European Championship) and Croatia (bronze medallist at the 2012 European Championship).