Spain unstoppable against Poland

MATCH REVIEW: Spain recorded a 29:22 win against Poland in the opening Women's EHF EURO 2014 Group A match in Györ on Sunday

Photo: Uros Hocevar

Spain and Poland opened Group A of the Women's EHF EURO 2014 in Györ on Sunday with a close match that saw the Spanish 'Guerreras' take a 29:22 win.

This victory means the Spaniards are already in a prime position to proceed to the main round as one of the top three teams in the group.

When Alexandrina Cabral scored the first goal of the match with an easy fast break, it seemed an ominous sign of how the next sixty minutes would progress for Poland.

But after the rough start, Poland found their feet and slowly began to narrow the early lead (3:0 in the fifth minute) created by Spain. A rocket from Polish right back Iwona Niedzwiedz in the eighth minute levelled the score (3:3), and Poland were in the game.

By midway through the first half, both teams were pushing hard to play their own style and force the other to their pace.

Spain's best player of the match, Carmen Martin, was on fire, scoring five goals in the first 15 minutes alone, thereby reaching 450 goals for Spain. Her fellow wing, Kinga Grzyb, also reached a milestone on Sunday - her 200th international match for Poland.

"I did not expect to score nine goals, but I'm really happy that I could help the team. Many things, however, worked in the way I expected  because I was very confident about the way we would play before we arrived. And in the end it worked out perfectly on court today," Martin said.

"It's important that we keep our concentration and this good feeling. We have to keep working and maintain calm. This is just the start."

With the score level at 7:7 in the 16th minute, Poland's Alina Wojtas missed a crucial penalty that led to Spain taking the lead again. Spaniards Beatriz Fernandez and Nerea Pena then each scored an outside shot from the centre, increasing Spain's lead to three (10:7).

A Polish time-out was called, after which Kim Rasmussen's side returned with a more aggressive defensive system, but Spain were reluctant to let go of their lead. A spectacular fast break from Martin allowed Spain to edge ahead further, before the right wing struck again with a shot from her corner (15:11).

When the whistle signalled half-time, Spain held a three-goal lead at 16:13.

Seven minutes into the second half, Spain had pulled ahead to 21:15. After a second time-out for Poland, both sides adopted a more aggressive defence, but Poland's tactics were not enough.

Spain dominated the rest of the match, easily creating gaps in the Polish defence. With four minutes to go the 'Guerreras' were leading by seven (28:21).

Spanish captain Marta Mangue then sailed through the Polish defence to score a superb goal inside the last minute, and Spain took a convincing 29:22 victory away from their first meeting of the tournament.

written by Courtney Gahan / ts


MR I: Hungary vs. Denmark