Sweden join Croatia in main round after win against Belarus

MATCH REVIEW: 30:22 victory sets up decisive match against Croatia for the top spot in Group D on Friday

Photo: Brian Lindberg Jensen

Siarhei Rutenka, having recovered from a fever, netted an impressive total of 13 goals and was awarded his team's 'Player of the Match', but his comeback did not help Belarus as they eventually conceded a 22:30 loss against Sweden on Wednesday.

The result sees Sweden joining Croatia in the main round from Group D, while Belarus will face Montenegro on Friday to battle it out for the last remaining main round spot from Group D.

"I’m proud and happy about how our team was fighting today. We knew that this would be a difficult game.

"I’m especially happy that we, with Mattias Andersson, had a fantastic goalkeeper today," said Sweden's coach Staffan Olsson.

The match started in spectacular fashion for Sweden with all their fans joining into the national anthem at the game's opening.

However, the game's start was not charming at all for right back Johan Jakobsson who missed the first two long-range shots and received a two-minute suspension after seven minutes.

On the other hand, Sweden's goalkeeper Mattias Andersson, who played his 100th international for Sweden, enjoyed one of the tournament's best starts with saving five of the first six shots on his goal.

The Belarus defence had a good hold on the Scandinavians shooters as they managed to keep them at bay and the score to 4:4 midway into the first half.

Goalkeeper Vitali Charapenka was essential at this stage as he saved shot after shot from the Swedish attack.

That forced Sweden's coaching duo Ola Lindgren and Staffan Olsson to call for their first timeout 18 minutes into the game as Rutenka had granted his team with a 6:5 lead.

It was only Rutenka who kept his team in the match and on eye level with Sweden at this stage as he scored the six last goals for his team in the first half.

"It was a good match from both sides. We are, of course, disappointed that we couldn’t reach a better result today. Mattias Andersson was the main reason for that," the Belarus top star said.

"He closed the goal for us and was the reason why we couldn’t keep the game open till the end and lost our rhythm."

Sweden on the other side made double changes, as they substituted Patrik Fahlgren and Andreas Nilsson in defence and Tobias Karlsson and Magnus Jernemyr in the attack, which gave them more chances and eventually more goals - so at half-time the score stood at 13:10 in favour of Sweden.

Five minutes into second half Jernemyr and Rutenka collided, as the two giants went for the same ball, but fortunately both players recovered quickly and continued playing.

Sweden came into the second half with a lot of steam, and with fourteen minutes remaining Frederik Petersen scored his sixth goal that gave his team a comfortable six-goal lead.

At that time it became obvious that their opponents were too strong in second half and they fell futher behind, as Sweden's 'Player of the Match', Andreas Nilsson, scored three unanswered to make it 25:17 with eight minutes to go.

While the deal was sealed, Sweden kept this goal-margin for the remaining minutes and eventually won 30:22

written by Mie Oestergaard / ts