France have won all four of their matches so far in Spain ©Getty Images

Slovenia earned a point against the Russian Handball Federation (RHF) to stay in contention to reach a maiden quarter-final at the International Handball Federation (IHF) Women's World Championship.

It could have been even better for Slovenia, too, had Iuliia Markova not equalised for the "neutral" RHF team five seconds from time in Granollers in Spain.

The result means RHF have five points in Group I, good enough for second place, but are still to play Olympic champions France, plus Montenegro.

Slovenia, two points back, have games against already-eliminated Poland and Serbia to look forward to.

A Russian Olympic Committee team lost to France in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic final - where Russia's name, flag and anthem was banned, as it is at the IHF Women's World Championship, in punishment for manipulating Moscow Laboratory data to cover-up a state-sponsored doping programme.

The Olympic champions began their main-round campaign with a 26-16 victory against Poland.

Serbia came from behind to eliminate neighbours Montenegro in the group's other match, with Tamara Radojević scoring eight goals in the winning effort.

Serbia have four points, but face France next.

Teams carry forward to the main rounds the points they earned in the preliminary group stage against sides that also progressed.

Group II also began today, with all three results going as expected in Castelló, but the Dutch defending champions were given a scare.

The Netherlands required a last-minute goal from Angela Malestein to win 31-30 against Romania.

Nathalie Hagman scored an eye-popping 19 goals as Sweden thrashed Kazakhstan 55-20, and European champions Norway went one better.

They defeated Puerto Rico by 36 goals, with Sanna Solberg-Isaksen grabbing 10 in the 43-7 triumph.

Teams who finished last in the preliminary round were invited to compete in the President's Cup to decide places 25 to 32, but China today withdrew following a positive COVID-19 case in the camp.