The Belarusian team, coached by Yuri Shevtsov, comprised the strongest players, including experienced Kazimierz Kotlinski (Polish Olsztyn) and Sergey Rutenko (Spanish Barcelona), alongside new member Alexander Bushkov (Polish Powen). Rutenko, the world’s most expensive handball player, has been captaining the Belarusian team this season.
According to the head coach, these matches are a major stage in preparing for 2012 World Championship. The first match of the 7th qualifying group was held on November 2nd, with Romania defeating Luxembourg in an away match — 35:20.
The Belarusian squad is scheduled to play its qualification matches in early 2012: on January 4th, it will face Luxembourg in Mogilev and, on January 7th, will host a return match. On January 11th, it will face Romania, with a return match taking place in Minsk on January 15th.
“Previously, we were concentrating on choosing a strong team with enough reserve players,” explains Mr. Shevtsov. “Now, we’re planning how to initiate attacks and achieve results.”
Only the winners of the seven qualifying groups will go through to the World Championship finals, being joined by eleven participants of the 2012 European Handball Championship. The ultimate winner of the European tournament will automatically receive a place at the event, to be held in January 2013 in Spain.