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Date: 12/8/2017

Angola, France and Spain were the victors in the final round of Group A in Trier. As Romania had already been confirmed group winners, France rank second ahead of Spain, Slovenia, Angola and Paraguay. This means for the eighth-finals that Romania play Czech Republic, France lock horns with Hungary, Spain face Norway and Slovenia duel with Sweden. All those matches will take place in Leipzig on Sunday and Monday.

In the President’s Cup, Angola will lock horns with Poland in the round for places 17-20 in Leipzig, while Paraguay face Argentina in Magdeburg for the places 21-24. More than 3,400 fans attended the final session of matches at Trier on Friday.

Angola vs Paraguay 32:28 (16:17)

One who thought that the fight for the fifth position would be something like a friendly match was totally wrong. Both sides fought extremely hard, both sides were fully motivated – and finally Paraguay’s players shed tears of disappointment.

For more than 50 minutes, the South Americans were ahead against the African champions, then Angola luckily turned the tide in a match with two severe injuries: Albertina Cassonga (Angola) needed to go to the hospital with an ankle injury, while Karina dos Santos got a severe cut in the face and needed stitches during the match.

Like on Thursday against Slovenia, Paraguay were perfectly prepared and grabbed the chances to take an early 8:4 advance. Most of the 1,123 fans backed Paraguay, and the team of coach Ruben Vera delivered a great performance. Sabrina Fiore netted in eight times to keep her team ahead though Angola reduced the gap goal by goal. But after the 23:20 Paraguay lacked the power to stand and eight minutes later, Angola took their first lead at 26:25 and finally decided the match in the last minutes.

“It was a tough and strange match, as it was really hard to defend against Paraguay,” said Angola’s Danish-born coach Morten Soubak. His counterpart Near was extremely disappointed: “We lacked concentration only in the last four minutes.”

France vs Romania 26:17 (17:7)

It was more or less a Romanian ‘B-selection’ on court (without players such as Neagu, Buceschi or Ardean), after they had been confirmed group winners already on Thursday. “Of course we gave our key players some time to rest. They needed a break. France played fast in the first half, but after the break we were quite strong,” said Romania’s Spanish-born coach Ambros Martin.

With a French 17:7 lead at haf-time, the deal was sealed as the Olympic runners-up were backed by a great defence and the in total 16 saves of goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux. “We are improving from match to match though we faced a young and inexperienced Romanian team today,” said French coach Olivier Krumbholz. His side had started with an impressive 7:2 initial run, the second half was more or less equal. Best scorers were Manon Houette with seven goals for France and Cristina Florianu with six strikes for Romania. “Our fate in the eighth-finals is in our hands, all depends on us,” Ana-Maria Popa is confident to beat Czech Republic in Leipzig.

Spain vs Slovenia 33:26 (13:14)

The final match at Trier was a game of two different halves: first Slovenia were fully in control, finally Spain took a win – but the players were a little bit shocked, when they heard that they have to face Norway in the eighth-finals after the defending champions had lost the Scandinavian duel against Sweden. Nerea Pena was the outstanding player of this encounter, scoring six of her nine goals after the break for the victors.

Right after the break, Spain turned the match around to 18:15 thanks to a 5:1 series. Though Tjasa Stanko scored goal after goal for Slovenia, the distance did not melt anymore, on the contrary: in the final minutes, Spain even extended the gap to seven goals in the end.

“We played a strong first half, but after the break Pena was unstoppable and Zoqbi saved brilliantly. We did our job in qualifying for the eighth-finals, and we have huge respect for Sweden. But I think that after our performances here, all opponents will take us seriously,” said Slovenian coach Uros Bregar.

Spanish player Mireya Gonzalez is confident to have a chance against Norway: “We fight to win regardless the opponent. In the end, our goalkeeper performance after the break was a key for today’s victory.”