Spain clinches semifianl berth at 2009 women's handball worlds

15:15, December 14, 2009      

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With still one match to go, European runner-up Spain clinched their semifinal ticket at the 2009 women's handball World Championship here on Sunday.

Marta Mangue scored 8 points to help Spain outscore Romania 26-25 in the main round competition today.

Beatriz Fernandes netted in all her 5 goals in the first half to give Spain a 14-12 lead at the break. However, Romania fought back strongly with a 5-3 run when the game resumed and seized the one point advantage for the most part of the second half.

With four minutes left on the clock, Romania led 25-23. Marta Mangue stood out to even the score for spain with one goal and one assist, before Macarena Aguilar's buzzer beater left the Romanians slack-jawed in the court.

After winning the game, Spain ranked top with 7 points in Groupone of the main round competition, leading South Korea, the third in the same group, with 2 points. Since Spain had defeated South Korea in the previous match, the Spanish side will secure their top two placing in the group even if they lose in the final round.

Olympic titlist Norway trounced host China 34-19 in a lopsided game. Linn Kristin Riegelhuth notched a game-high 7 for the Norwegians while her teammate Marit Malm Frafjord, who added her international caps to 100 today, scored 4 points from 4 shots. Ranking second with 6 points, Norway will also make it into the semifinal if they can defeat Spain on Tuesday.

Hungary received another draw against South Korea when Jung Jihae's equalizer in the last minute leveled the score 28-28 for the bronze medallist at Beijing Olympic Games. The South Koreans shrugged off a six points deficit and close the gap with their tight defence.

In Group two, the defending champion Russia's spotless record at 2009 women's handball worlds ended after being stunned by France 24-23, and Denmark also suffered with a surprising defeat, upset by African Champion Angola 28-23.

Germany, third finisher in the previous World Championship, beat its neighbour Austria 29-26. But the Germans had already lost their hope for a semifinal berth.

Russia, France and Denmark, all tied with 6 points, will fight for the two semifinal spots in the final round.

Source: Xinhua
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