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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Portugal Crowned Four Nations Tournament Winners

Portugal have won the Women’s Four Nations Handball Tournament after beating Switzerland 26-17 in a winner-takes-all clash in Liverpool on Saturday.

Pre-match, the form book suggested that it would be the Swiss who would be crowned champions. But the Portuguese had other ideas, producing the goods time and time again in front of the Swiss goal coupled with the devastating 100 per cent hit-rate of centre-back Claudia Correia from the penalty spot.

The Portuguese were also helped by their goalkeeper, and recent Le Havre signing, Daniela Pereira who pulled off a number of high-quality saves, particularly in the first half, to keep their opponents at bay.

Swiss right-back Karin Weigelt, left-back Stephanie Haag and left-wing Annina Ganz kept their side within touching distance in the first half.

But the Portuguese looked comfortable throughout the match against a somewhat sluggish Switzerland side who played nowhere near the levels they had shown in their previous matches against Italy and GB. They also weren’t helped by two, two-minute suspensions served by pivot Seline Ineichen in the second half.

But that shouldn’t take away from an inspired Portuguese performance which saw them run away with the victory in the second half - at one point outscoring their opponents 8-2.

The Portuguese made the Swiss pay for their lack of success in front of their goal, capitalising on the fast-break, especially through left-wings Vera Lopes and Claudia Aguiar and with it, claiming the Four Nations crown.

Report by Andrew McSteen
Photos by Michele Davison

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