Estonian men's handball team lose opening European Championship qualifier
Estonia's men's handball team started their 2024 European championships qualification on the wrong foot, or hand really, with a 31:23 loss away to the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
The hosts have reached the finals several times in the past and finished in the top six twice, and will be looking to replicate that at January's finals in Germany, whereas Estonia has yet to make it through qualifying.
Following the match, held in Ostrava, national team member Jürgen Rooba told ERR that: "If you look at the picture of today's game, considering our young team - these eight goals... yes, in the end it's okay."
"If we had executed things a little better and defended a few minutes better, then this situation would have been completely different."
"For the most part, we can be satisfied, but we have to improve," he added, highlighting defense as a key area which would require such improvement.
The Czech Republic led through the first half by at least three or four goals, and while Estonia closed the gap in the second period, to a two-point deficit at 17:15, the hosts still had more in reserve, pulling of a four-point streak and then increasing the lead to 10 points.
The match finished 31:23 to the hosts.
Rooba was Estonia's top scorer with four goals, folllowed by Karl Toom, David Mamporia and Mihkel Lõpp (three goals each), while Matej Klima had six hits, Jakub Hrstka five hits.
20 finals places are up for grabs in qualifying; Iceland and Israel make up the remainder of the qualifying group Estonia is in.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte