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Tight race to semi-finals in Romania

C4 9374 EHF / Courtney Gahan

A big weekend of action awaits at the M18 EHF Championship 3, where the title will be decided this weekend after an exciting preliminary round was played during the week. Hosts of the championship, Romania, have enjoyed a flawless campaign on the path to the semi-finals and are left standing in the race for the title along with Finland, Ukraine and Austria.

The M18 EHF Championship 3 follows the same schedule as M18 EHF Championship 2 in Latvia, with the semi-finals to be played on Saturday and the finals on Sunday. At M18 EHF Championship 1 in Israel, the trophy will be awarded on Saturday, following the semi-finals on Friday.

  • Romania are the only team unbeaten at the M18 EHF Championship 3, recording three wins in three matches to top group B with the maximum points
  • Finland also qualified for the semi-finals from group B, as the second-ranked side on the table. In group A, Ukraine emerged the top side ahead of Austria, though both teams had the same number of points
  • in group A, Ukraine and Austria both recorded two wins and one loss. Austria’s loss came against Ukraine, 26:29, in round 1, before victories against Estonia (32:26) and Slovakia (28:21). Ukraine followed their win over Austria with a 21:25 loss to Slovakia and a 34:27 victory against Estonia
  • in group B, Romania beat all their opponents — Finland, Moldova and Great Britain. Finland won against third-ranked Moldova and fourth-placed Great Britain, settling into second position with four points
  • Ukraine and Finland will open the semi-finals on Saturday with throw-off at 16:00 CEST, before Romania play Austria at 18:00 CEST. The finals will take place on Sunday
  • positions 5–8 on the final ranking will also be decided on Saturday and Sunday, through a series of cross-matches
  • the title winning team will earn promotion to the M20 EHF EURO 2024 and a place at the 2023 Men’s Youth World Championship

Tight competition in group A

Group A in Romania saw the closest competition across all three M18 EHF Championships currently underway, with every team earning at least one win. No other preliminary round group in any of the three championships had such a record, with the bottom-ranked teams usually defeated in all their matches. Also, the group leaders ended on the same number of points, with Ukraine securing top spot ahead of Austria due to their win in the mutual encounter.

The mutual match was also key in determining the positioning of the third- and fourth-ranked teams in group A — Slovakia finished fourth, although they had the same points as Estonia (two), as Estonia won the direct clash between the two, 28:26. Both Slovakia and Estonia lost to Austria, but Slovakia beat group winners Ukraine 25:21 to earn their two points.

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