In their first match of the Main Round Hungary met Macedonia. The winner would be able to keep their hopes alive for reaching third position as Spain and Denmark seem more likely to advance into the semi final – 31:25 (16:9).
Mikler made good basis for Hungary’s play when he saved world-class Lazarov’s penalty in the first minute. From the counterattack Gulyás scored a far shot then Császár scored from penalty and Hungary were 2-0 up after five minutes. Mikler saved yet another one of Lazarov’s penalties, the defense wall was working well and the difference grew (4-1). Hungary decided the fate of the match in the next 15 minutes as they produced good pivot play, effective playmaking by Császár, big field goals by Ancsin and finally successfull attempts by Putics from left-back position. Lazarov scored only twice, Manaskov tried to keep Macedonia in match, but with little success as Hungary were leading 14-6 in the 25th minute.
In the second half Macedonia’s play improved, Mirkulovski and Georgievski scored, pivot play also improved but it was only enought to keep the distance as Hungary’s attacks led by Kornél Nagy were still very effective. The difference of 6-8 goals remained and the final 15 minutes of the match produced little excitement.
Monday’s match will be the biggest task for Hungary as they meet hosts and top favourites Denmark likely in front of 14000 spectators. If Mikler and 4-5 other Hungarian players do their best it might just be enough to force Denmark into a big match.
Hungary-Macedonia 31-25 (16-9)
Best scorers: Császár (7), Ancsin, Zubai, Nagy (4) / Pecakovski, Manaskov (5)
Text: Gábor Várkonyi, Péter Butty
Photo: Bjørn Kenneth Muggerud/Handballpix.com