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News Details

Date: 3/22/2016

Review: 2016 IHF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament III – Astrakhan, Russia

Teams: Russia, Sweden, Poland, Mexico

Both the hosts Russia and Sweden qualified for Rio after their second games leaving Poland and the impressive European debutants Mexico watching the Olympics on television.  The Sport Arena Zvezdny in Astrakhan, Russia, saw 6,000 fans every night watch the Russian side dominant the tournament and will be hoping for more of the same at Rio 2016.

For full statistics, reports and pictures, visit the Astrakhan mini-site HERE.

Match Day 1

Poland vs Russia 25:27 (11:11)
In front of a packed 6,000 spectators inside the Sport Arena Zvezdny in Astrakhan, southern Russia, Evgeniy Trefilov’s home side put in a performance that gave the home fans something to shout about.

In what was already a decisive match, Russia took the points eventually despite an even first half which ended 11:11.

Poland could have been in the lead but for a succession of saved shots in the 20th minute as Russian goalkeeper Anna Sedoykina provided a strong line of defence and as the game entered the final minute, Trefilov took his final team time out with 59 seconds left and the scores all even at 25:25 to set up a dramatic finale.

His team immediately came out firing and Anna Vyakhireva - who finished top scorer on seven goals - smashed home to make it 26:25 to Russia. A missed shot from Polish left wing Agnieszka Jochymek was punished by Olga Akopian, the Russian left back as her side went 27:25 up and despite a final team time out from Poland and the extra court player, Russia held on. Monika Kobylinska top-scored for Poland with five goals.

Best Player of the Match presented by adidas: Anna VYAKHIREVA (RUS) – Right Wing

To view a Facebook photo gallery from this match CLICK HERE.

Sweden vs Mexico 41:20 (21:9)
Mexico made their international bow on a European stage and more than impressed those watching as they fought hard but finally succumbed to a strong second half showing from Sweden.

As expected, the Scandinavians led for the whole match, but with the score at 8:5 and the Central American side down by just three, the Europeans stepped up their performance on 15 minutes to accelerate away.

Consistent turnovers and technical mistakes from the Mexicans proved their undoing as Sweden spread their scoring around the whole court, as in the end, just Jenny Alm and goalkeeper Johanna Bundsen were the only players not to score for them - even her fellow co-goalkeeper Filippa Idehn scored, with a deep shot to make it 32:16 in the 46th minute. Swedish left wing Louise Sand top scored for her side with five and Iztel Aguirre Gallegos top-scored for Mexcio with eight.

Best Player of the Match presented by adidas: Louise SAND (SWE) – Left Wing

To view a Facebook photo gallery from this match CLICK HERE.

Match Day 2

Poland vs Sweden 24:30 (12:16)
Both matches on the second day of competition in Astrakhan started with a minute of silence in memory for the victims and those affected by the plane crash in Rostov-on-Don.

Poland, after losing to hosts Russia in their first game, had to beat Sweden if they were to stand any chance of qualifying for Rio 2016, while the Scandinavians knew a victory would secure their place at the next edition of the Summer Olympic Games.

Despite a top four finish at the 2015 IHF Women’s World Championship in Denmark, Poland could not reach the heights of their performance four months ago as they were behind from the second minute until the 60th as a complete team performance from the Swedes saw all but three of their court players make the scoresheet.

A four-goal half-time lead (16:12), extended to six in the 56th minute as Kim Rasmussen’s Polish side knew their time was up and their tears started flowing. Aleksandra Zych top-scored for Poland on six goals, while Isabelle Gullden’s five goals put her top of the Swedish goalscorers.

Best Player of the Match presented by adidas: Johanna BUNDSEN (SWE) – Goalkeeper

To view Facebook photo galleries from this match CLICK HERE and HERE.

Russia vs Mexico 37:17 (17:11)
Russia qualified for Rio 2016 with a 20-goal win against Mexico, but they were made to work for it as just six goals separated the sides at half-time.

Mexico actually led twice in the opening three minutes with Tania Navarro Briseno and Selene A. Sifuentes Hernandez making it 1:0 and then 2:1, but after eventual best player of the match Vladlena Bobrovnikova scored twice from her left back position to make it 4:2 the Russians after five minutes, and they never looked back, extending their lead past the 15th minute to 21st to eight goals (14:6).

The second half saw a visibly tired Mexico side commit numerous technical faults as they bravely fought on in an atmosphere they are unlikely to have experienced before, but a further goal run from Russia of 6:0 between the 45th and 55th minutes, which took the goal difference to 19 (34:15), was the icing on the cake. Polina Gorshkova scored six for Russia and Selene Sifuentes Hernandez five for Mexico to finish top scorers for their teams.

Best Player of the Match presented by adidas: Vladlena BOBROVNIKOVA (RUS) – Left Back

To view Facebook photo galleries from this match CLICK HERE and HERE.

Match Day 3

Russia vs Sweden 37:29 (15:10)
Russia and Sweden, already business concluded and a ticket each for Rio 2016 in their possession, played out a pulsating match complete with 66 goals.

Despite eight goals from the CSM Bucuresti player Isabelle Gullden, Helle Thomsen’s side were never in the match as Russia, embracing the last chance to play in front of the 6,000 home fans, raced to a 5:0 lead after six minutes and 15:10 up at the break.

Even though the difference was eight goals at the final buzzer, both Russia and Sweden finished the tournament happy as Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva top-scored with seven goals each for Russia and Gullden with eight for Sweden.

Best Player of the Match presented by adidas: Daria DMITRIEVA (RUS) – Centre Back

Mexico vs Poland 14:36 (5:18)
The final match in Astrakhan was some sort of redemption for Poland who finished with an impressive 22-goal victory over Mexico, who could only manage five goals in the first half.

A 13-goal half-time lead (18:5) meant the eventual win (36:14) was never in doubt, but Mexico again showed their potential as they went on a 4:0 run early in the second half to scare Poland into upping their game again to run away with the two points.

Berenice Esquivel Garduno top-scored on six for her Mexican side with Katarzyna Kolodziejska scoring eight to top-score for Poland.

Best Player of the Match presented by adidas: Agnieszka KOCELA (POL) – Left Wing

Statistics – 2016 IHF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament III – Astrakhan, Russia

Best Attack (Goals Scored): 101 (RUS)
Highest Amount of Shots: 155 (SWE)
Best Defence (Goals Conceded): 71 (= RUS + POL)
Most Shots Faced: 140 (MEX)
Most Shots Saved: 44 (SWE)
Best Goalkeeper: Anna SEDOYKINA (RUS) 42% save ratio (24/57)
Top Scorer: Isabelle GULLDEN (SWE) – 17
Top Assists: Selene SIFUENTES HERNANDEZ (MEX) – 10
Top Scorer + Assists: Isabelle GULLDEN (SWE) – 25

Photos: Handball Federation of Russia