MATCH REVIEW – The difference between the two teams was bigger than the scoreboard indicated at the end of the match. Romania were the far better squad and led by as much as nine goals along the way.
Cristina Neagu got her entry in the record book as the highest scoring player in the history of the EHF European championship.
By Peter Bruun
Germany vs Romania 24:29 (11:14)
Before the Match
*Both teams got off to a fine start in the tournament. Germany´s opening win was impressive to say the least, defeating the ruling European champion, Norway, 33:32. Romania needed only one outstanding first half for their 31:28 victory against the Czech Republic.
*Romania´s star player, Cristina Neagu, was just five goals short from becoming the highest scoring player in the history of the women´s European championships.
The final result did not tell the true story about this match.
Romania were the far better team and Germany never reached the level that led to their opening win against Norway.
En route to becoming the highest scoring player in the history of the tournament, Cristina Neagu led her team to a victory that was never in doubt.
Cristina Neagu needed less than 27 minutes to become the highest scoring scoring player in the history of the competition. Her goal number 206 broke the previous record held by Agnes Farkas´ (205 goals).
The goal was her fifth in the match and even though she needed several attempts, the record is obviously impressive, and so was the Romanian performance in the first half.
Germany could not get a grip on the game, as Romania were dominating the affair from the get go, jumping to a 5:1 leading and forcing Henk Groener in an early time out (9th minute). But, the short-break did not make things any better for his team.
Romania added to their advantage (6:3), and matters changed from bad to worse for Team Germany, as Neagu & Co. did not let go, building a five-goal lead (12:7).
Eliza Buceschi’s performance was outstanding once again, as a brilliant playmaker and an effective goal-scorer. Romania never “opened the door” and two missed penalty shots obviously did not make it any better for Germany.
But, three consecutive goals brought Behnke & Co. back in the game (10:12). Speaking of Behnke – the line player was Germany’s best performer in the first half, scoring five of her game-high eight goals in the first thirty minutes.
Still, Romania took a three-goal lead to the locker room.
Neagu wasn’t only a fantastic goal-scorer, but dished out a number of noteworthy assists as well. For example, the one shown in minute 31 in the second half, when line player Elena Pintea converted a spectacular pass to make it 15:12.
The goal was the precursor of yet another half that Romania was in complete control of.
Buceschi, who was brilliant before the break, would play even even better handball if that was possible.
Goalkeeper, Denisa Dedu, who had a stellar first half as well, improved even further and on the line, Pintea got her game going, as Romania continued to pull away.
At 25:16 Romania enjoyed their largest lead and began to relax just a little bit, while Henk Groener tried playing seven-against-six in a last attempt, to cut the deficit.
However, the last ditch effort did not produce the desired results. On this day in Brest, Romania was the better handball team. All Germany could achieve was putting a cosmetic touch on the result before the final buzzer sounded.
Player of the Match
Not only did she score 11 goals on 13 attempts, but Eliza Buceschi was also a great organizer of Romania’s offense for almost the entire 60 minutes.
Based on her performances thus far at the2018 European championship, the 25-year-old Coroan Brasov player ought to be attractive for clubs at a much higher level.
What They Said
Elena Pintea – Romania
“We certainly did not fear Germany, even though they had defeated Norway.
From the start, we succeeded with playing good defense, and we got our attack going early on as well.
“Of course, it was a tough game, but I think we were on top of it all the way and we got the two points – that’s most important.
“Now, we are very excited to see how we’ll against Norway.”
Ina Grossmann – Germany
“We never reached the level of the game that we showed before yesterday (against Norway, ed.).
“For example, we were not able to create the space that you need to get into a good scoring position – certainly not when comparing our performance to the previous match.
“Romania did not surprise us with anything they showed. We knew it would be a tough game – still, we should have done better.”
Romania are in the main round, but they won’t be stopping there. Now, it’s all about carrying as many points to the next phase of the competition as possible. On Wednesday, they’ll get their chance to take maximum points to the next stage, when they will face Norway – inevitably an interesting affair.
Germany are back to basics after their impressive win against Norway, they now have to find a way and rise against the Czech Republic. The game will be played on Wednesday, as well.