Home instead of the semifinals: the german women’s handball team’s dream of winning a medal at the european championships in france was not fulfilled.
After a 21:27 (11:13) defeat by the netherlands, third in the world championships, the young DHB selection finished the tournament in ninth place. "We were shown our limits today," said national coach henk groener. "We have seen that we are not yet among the world’s best."
In the event of success, his proteges, who had their best defender in angie geschke (5 goals), had played for fifth place in paris. To reach the preliminary round, a victory with a difference of twelve goals would have been required. "We are naturally disappointed, because we were happy to go to paris," said backcourt player emily bolk.
In the preliminary round on friday, the netherlands and host france, as well as olympic champions russia and romania, will battle it out for a place in the final match. But the 2015 world cup bronze medalists will have to do without their top star: world handball player cristina neagu suffered a serious knee injury against hungary and had to go to hospital with a suspected cruciate ligament rupture.
As in sunday’s 25:26 loss to hungary, which ultimately cost them a ticket to the semifinals, the german team had problems finishing against the netherlands, with the exception of geschke, and missed too many chances even before the break. "21 goals are too few," groener complained.
But because the defense stood firm and goalkeeper dinah eckerle again excelled, the team was still within striking distance at 11:13 at halftime. But even after the change of sides, the series of technical errors and simple ball losses continued. "Our heads were not really in it, we made too many technical mistakes and threw away too many balls," eckerle noted.
Nevertheless, the dutch women, who were also nervous at times, were unable to pull away decisively at first. Only from 19:15 the advantage became clearer. This was also thanks to estevana polman, the lifelong companion of soccer star rafael van der vaart, who was the best pitcher of the oranjes with six goals.
In the final standings, germany has 4:6 payers and is two points behind the trio of equal points: romania, norway and hungary. The defending champions from scandinavia were one goal short of advancing to the preliminary round. Thus, record european champion norway (seven titles) has missed a european championship semifinal for the first time in 18 years ? Also because of the sensational 32:33 opening defeat against the DHB selection ? And is now playing sweden for fifth place.