Playing worthily at home
Belarusians have beaten their main opponent in the 7th qualification group — Romania — 28:23 (15:12). This gave them revenge for their defeat in Bucharest — 22:25.
Minsk’s crowded Palace of Sports saw Yuri Shevtsov’s trainees begin the match by attacking hard. However, Romania stood strong, pushing Belarus into three 2-minute penalty dismissals within the first ten minutes. The hot tempered match cooled a little as Belarus found its way, launching a more calculated campaign.
The world’s most expensive handball player, the leader of the Belarusian squad, Sergey Rutenko, enjoyed a brilliant match, as did Kazimir Kotlinsky. Maxim Baranov made a good substitute for Rutenko-junior on the right flank. The second half brought the most fruitful results: with Belarus up by six points by the 36th minute and nine by the 41st minute. By the end of the match, Romania was finding efficient ways to combat the tricks of Rutenko and his team mates but our goal-keepers prevented them from scoring more than 23 points in all, producing a final score of 27:23.
The final results of the 7th qualification group are as follows: Belarus — 6 points (difference of goals 120-99), Romania — 6 (109-92), Luxembourg — 0 (93-131). So, Belarus is ranked first on points difference, earning the right to go through to the world tournament’s play-offs.