Romania's national women's handball team has qualified for the European Championship. Cristina Neagu and her colleagues ranked on second position in the 2nd Preliminary Group, behind Denmark, but ahead of Austria and the Faroe Islands. The Romanian handballers were very nervous all the way through to the last match in the group qualifiers. One stage before the end of the preliminaries, the Romanian hanballers were level on points with Austria, a team with which they had ended in a draw, score 33 all, the first direct confrontation, in October last year. Then came a double defeat by Denmark, the best team in the group. Under these conditions, the handballers trained by coach Adrian Vasile could only boast, until last week, the two victories obtained in the matches with the Faroe Islands.
In the decisive match with Austria, held on Sunday in Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania led the match from the very beginning. At the break, the Romanians had an advance of six goals on the table, score 19-13. After the break, the difference reached ten goals, respectively 33-23 and 37-27, with the final score being 38 to 29. Cristina Neagu was the best scorer of the Romanian team, with 12 goals. The goalkeeper Daciana Hosu also made a good impression, as she saved 10 throws, proving a 33% efficiency. Cristina Neagu was designated the best player of the last two stages of the European Championship qualifiers, according to the competition's Facebook page. Romania has two players in the ideal team of these two stages, Cristina Neagu and the pivotwoman Crina Pintea.
Romania has qualified to the European Women's Handball Championship for the 13th time. So far, the Romanian handballers have missed only one edition, that of 2006. The competition will take place in November in Slovenia, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro. Romania has been assigned to pot 4 at the draw to be held on Thursday at Ljubljana Castle in the Slovenian capital. (LS)