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Date: 7/16/2008

 Match Day 1 of the main round showed striking encounters and first signals for the ongoing tournament.

A sparkling handball show took place at the National Tennis Center when host Slovakia made an encouraged performance to stand up against big favourites Russia in Group MI. In contrast to their match against Korea the Slovak girls showed what they are capable to do to take the lead on minute '13 for the first time. The Russian seemed somewhat scared and had to concede a three-goal difference at half-time. After changing ends, however, the favourites had a better restart to quickly catch up and rush ahead and to maintain their three-goal margin until the final whistle was blown. Yet, the Slovak girls with their top scorer Selma Blazekova (7 goals) filled their crowd with enthusiasm, and they had every reason to be proud of their side although strong contenders made them come in fourth in Group MI. The second match turned out to be a high-class handball duel between two traditional handball giants. Both sides made a fine performance with the better end for the Danes who are now looking forward to booking their tickets to the last four on Match Day 5, and they have every reason to be optimistic.

Group MII let no doubt that France will make through to the semi-finals. After their win over Spain, which was the remake of last year's ECh final on that same spot, they added another two points to their account. Although the spectators witnessed two very different halves. France was the predominant side in half-time 1 rushing to a comfortable 10:3 lead after 30 minutes. In the second half the reigning European champions' concentration collapsed and suddenly the score was 14:13 but the French side found back to bring the victory home and dry. Spain will go down to the placement matches, while France is already looking forward to the semi-finals.

Serbia secured another win to book their ticket to the semi-finals after a tough match against splashy Angolan girls who fought bravely. With the support of their excellent goalkeeper they break into the lead to 12:9 on minute 35. But Serbia pulled themselves together to improve and to avoid another surprise by the African side.

Having a look at the placement round taking place at Pasienky Hall, the Netherlands outclassed Qatari girls 53:6 while Tunisia booked a modest 30:26 win over Puerto Rico.

Moreover Pan-American representatives Brazil and Argentina both earned a win over Asian sides Japan and Hong Kong respectively before tomorrow's duel for the top position, which will allow them to compete for places 9/10.