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Date: 3/20/2016
 

The final match day in Astrakhan saw Russia make it three out of three with a win over Sweden, while Poland finally got off of the mark with a victory over Mexico, who will return to central America without any points but full of pride and experience - certainly one team to watch over the coming years.

Russia vs Sweden 37:29 (15:10)
Sport Arena Zvezdny, Astrakhan, Russia

Goalkeeper Anna Sedoykina turned in an impressive performance for host nation Russia as she saved 53% of Sweden’s shots to help her side win their third and final game of the Olympic Qualification Tournament III in Astrakhan.

Both teams went into the game already qualified for Rio 2016 having beaten Poland and Mexico in their first two matches and with that immediate pressure off the performance from either team was hardly pedestrian as 66 goals were scored in a pulsating match.

Despite eight goals from the CSM Bucuresti player Isabelle Gullden, Helle Thomsen’s side were never in the match as Russia, embracing the pressure of playing in front of 6,000 home fans, raced to a 5:0 lead after six minutes as Sedoykina saved four shots and it was a lead that Sweden could never claw back.

Thomsen immediately replaced Filippa Idehn in goal with the impressive Johanna Bundsen taking over duties and with the refreshed Scandinavian defence, the Swedish attack bought the score within two at 6:4 in the 10th minute but that was as close as they came as the home side went in 15:10 at the break.

It was more of the same in the opening 15 minutes of the second half but after a spell of ill-discipline with both Johanna Westberg and then Sabina Jacobsen Rosengren receiving two-minute suspensions for Sweden, Russia started to rack up the goals, going 12 up at 34:22 in the 53rd minute thanks to multiple turnovers from Sweden and the deadly striking duo of Liudmila Postnova and Irina Bliznova who ended with four and five goals each respectively.

Even though the difference was eight goals at the final buzzer, both Russia and Sweden finished the tournament happy and getting ready for their Brazilian experience.

Best Player of the Match: Daria DMITRIEVA (RUS)

Mexico vs Poland 14:36 (5:18)
Sport Arena Zvezdny, Astrakhan, Russia

After their disappointment of missing out on a place at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Kim Rasmussen’s Polish side ended their Russian adventure with an impressive 22-goal victory over Mexico, who could only manage five goals in the first half as Poland meant business.


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.


Agnieszka Kocela (7), Katarzyna Kolodziejska (8) and Kinga Achruk (6) scored more than half of Poland’s goals and their focus will now shift to the Women’s EHF EURO taking place in Sweden in December.


Best Player of the Match: Agnieszka KOCELA (POL)

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