Handball team takes step towards Championships
The Belarusian national handball team has twice beaten Romania in the qualifying round for the 2014 European Championships
By Dmitry Baranovsky
After defeat by Iceland at the start of the tournament and a draw against Slovenia, Yury Shevtsov’s team required a win to keep any chance of second place in the group, and a place in the finals.
Maksim Babichev’s absence caused some concern but the away match in Piatra Neamt was controlled by the Belarusian squad, who only allowed the opponent to lead once in the second half. Our team’s three goal lead put them well ahead for the return home match, led by Spanish Barcelona mid-forward Sergey Rutenko. The match was one of the most exciting for the national team, with 14 goals scored by Sergey and almost the same number lined up for his teammates, with a resounding victory of 31:25.
This success alone does not guarantee a place in the finals for the team, since more matches are yet to be played. Iceland is clearly in the lead, while Belarus needs to play well against Slovenia and Iceland. However, after their firm victory over the Romanians (who have participated five times in the finals of the World and European Championships in recent years) fans will be feeling confident that our team is in with a real chance of success. Head coach Yury Shevtsov notes that the squad has weaknesses but believes these can be overcome and is certain that neither Slovenia nor Iceland will be sure of a win against the Belarusian team.