During the national team week, from 22nd until 29th of October, there were 40 players and 3 coaches from the SEHA - Gazprom League. Some players were playing qualifying matches for 2019 World Championship, whereas others were trying to stay sharp in friendlies.
Under the leadership of their new head coach Eduard Koksharov, Russia played two qualifying matches for the World Cup 2019. In the first game they hosted Slovakia and won the match 32:22, as expected. Team Russia had taken the lead in the first half, going to the break with the score of 20:11. In the second half, the Russians remained calm easily drawing the match to a close. Vardar's Timur Dibirov scored the most goals for Russia - 7 and Tatran's Dominik Krok scored 5 for Slovakia.
In the second qualifying match, the Russians visited Finland. Similar to the first match against Slovakia, Russia pretty match settled the game in the first half, grabbing a 16:10 lead at the half. After 60 minutes the scoreboard showed 35:22 to Russia. They now have 4 points in the first qualifying group.
Slovakia suffered a loss to Russia in the first World Championship 2019 qualifying match. In the second game, they defeated Luxembourg 36:19. In the end Luxembourg scored the same amount of goals the Slovakia did in the first half, as the two teams went to the break with a score of 19:6. Michalka led the hosts with 5 goals, whereas Bock, Hoffmann, Krier, Weyer added 3 each. Slovakia now holds the second place in the first qualifying group.
Teams Slovenia and Croatia played two friendlies. Stozice hall Ljubljana hosted the two teams in the first match. Both teams were rotating quite a lot, and almost all players got a chance to feature in the match, in order to prepare for the upcoming EURO. In the end, it was all even - 26:26. Vardar's Ivan Cupic led Croatia with 8 goals, and Celje's Ziga Mlakar stood out with 7 goals.
Second match played in Arena Zagreb was tough, tense and really close, but Croatia came out on top led by their great fans, won 21:20. Ivan Cupic was once again the best player for Croatia with 6 goals, whilst Slovenia had Jure Dolenec who scored 8 goals. In both matches Cervar's and Vujovic's players had something to prove and were definitely eager to win and play for the national team jersey.
In another friendly, the hosts Belarus quite easily defeated Switzerland 34:23. Meshkov Brest player Siarhei Shylovich scored 5 goals in the win for Belarus, same as Kulesh and Vailupov. The Swiss team was led by Rubin who also scored 5 goals.
Czech Republic played against Montenegro twice in this national team week, with both teams winning once. In the first match, Czech Republic won 28:26, but Montenegro got revenge on Saturday beating them 23:22. Sobol led the Czechs in the first match with 8 goals, and Lasica scored 6 for Montenegro. In the second one, Vujovic led Montenegro to the victory with 8 goals. SEHA players Andjelic, Hrstka and Horak also participated in the friendlies.
Serbia and Austria also played each other twice, both times in friendlies. In two high-scoring matches Serbia one the first game 34:32, whereas the second game was a 38:38 draw. The first match saw Vujin score 7 goals, with a help from Zagreb's Markovic and Rnic who scored 6 each. Vardar's Mijajlo Marsenic was the man of the match on Saturday scoring 7 goals, with Ilic also having a good game scoring 9 times.
The national team week is finished, and the players are going back to their clubs, ready to feature in Champions League and SEHA - Gazprom League.