We now know all the passengers to the semi-final. Things were complicated in both rounds, as Denmark and France were the teams that were confident of going through.
Group I (Zagreb): Serbia - Belarus 27:32 (11:16)Both teams did not have a chance to go through to the semi-finals, so the coaches had a chance to give some inexperienced players a go. Both teams achieved just a single win so far in the competition; Belarus defeated Austria and Serbia beat Iceland. Belarus was better throughout the whole match. Saldatsenka was incredible with 20 saves and Meshkov's duo Yurynok- Rutenka combined for 10 goals, with Pukhouski leading the way with 9. SEHA- Gazprom League players Marsenic, Vanja Ilic and Djordjic scored 4 each. The tournament was a good learning experience for both teams.
Group II (Varazdin): Slovenia - Czech Republic 26:26 (11:12)It was a peculiar ending in this match, as both sides had a chance to go through to to semi-finals with a win. However, the final score was a draw and the two teams basically eliminated each other from progressing further in the competition. Czech Republic had a chance to win it, but Kasparek hit the post with the final shot. Zarabec, Marguc and Kavticnik all scored 5 goals each, but it was not enough. Both goalkeepers had good games, Kastelic recorded 10 saves and Mrkva 18. For the Czechs, Zdrahala played well again and scored 9, with Tomas Cip adding 5 more. Both teams can be proud of this competition, especially the Czechs who even defeated the likes of Macedonia and Denmark!
Group II (Varazdin): Macedonia - Denmark 20:31 (12:12)It was all tied up at the break, but Denmark was just on another level in the second half. Kiril Lazarov did not even feature in this one, as Macedonia lost their chances of going to the semi-finals after yesterday's loss to Czech Republic. Damgaard was terrific for Denmark scorig 11 to secure the first place for Denmark. Kuzmanovski was the main scorer for Macedonia with 6 and Stoilov had 4. Raul Gonzalez decided to use some of the players who have been less involved in the competition, as the result was not that important. Still, a good campaign for Macedonia, especially in the group stage when they were undefeated!
Group I (Zagreb): Croatia - France 27:30 (13:19)A tough first half for Croatia, who gave up so many fast-break goals after numerous turnovers. It wasn't a bad start, and Croatia had the lead after 15 minutes. However, a lot of mistakes were made and France suddenly went up by 6, with 19 goals scored. The second half started in similar fashion, but France could not keep the lead at 6 through the entire match. With 7 minutes to go, Cindric scored to put Croatia behind by 1, but France were quick to go back up by 3. It looked like Croatia made too many errors in both offense and defense. France remain undefeated in the competition. Wingers Strlek and Cupic combined for 11 goals, but it was not enough, as Mahe and Remili did the same on the other side. Gerard and Dumoulin perhaps made the difference in the end as they had 11 saves.
In the end, Norway recorded a bitter win against Sweden, because Sweden is still going to the semi-finals. Spain defeated Germany in a deciding match for the remaining spot in the semi-finals. This means we will see a Scandinavian duel in the battle for the final; Denmark versus Sweden, as well as France against Spain.