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Date: 12/7/2017
 

The penultimate Group B match day in Bietigheim-Bissingen saw the four eighth-final teams decided.

Poland, captained by the SG BBM Bietigheim player Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc, lost 31:28 (13:11) to Hungary, led by former Polish coach Kim Rasmussen, in the early game. With that result, Leszek Krowicki’s Poland team cannot now qualify through as their head-to-head record counts against them, having lost to the only two teams they can now catch (Czech Republic and Hungary).

Sweden made it three wins from their last three games as they sealed their eight-final place against Argentina 38:24 (17:13), confirming the South American’s place in the President’s Cup. In the late evening game, Norway further strengthened their top spot in the group with a 34:16 (20:7) win over Czech Republic, who had their eighth-final place confirmed before the match thanks to that Poland loss. 

The results all mean that the final day of matches will see the winners of Norway vs Sweden top the group, the winners of Czech Republic and Hungary finish third and the loser between Argentina and Poland finishing bottom.

GROUP B

Poland vs Hungary 28:31 (11:13)

In what was to prove to be the game of the day in many ways Kim Rasmussen’s Hungary side played his former team Poland in a replay of their Denmark 2015 eighth-final clash which Poland won. Rasmussen knew he could spare another match to clear a path through to the 2017 eighth-final, but Lesek Krowicki’s Poland team knew a loss would put them out of contention for a coveted spot in the last 16 teams.

Krowicki would have been pleased with the first quarter as his team led until the 14th minute but Hungary went in front for the first time (7:6), before extending it to three (11:8) prompting a Polish time out which reduced the deficit to one and the teams went in 13:11 at the break in favour of Hungary.

However, drama presented itself in the cruellest way to Kudlacz-Gloc, playing in her club team’s home town, in front of her family. With her Polish team suffering, eight goals down (25:17), and the game entering its final quarter, Hungarian pivot Anett Kisfaludy misjudged a grab and connected with the Polish captain’s face, earning a direct red card and seeing Kudlacz-Gloc receiving lengthy medical treatment. Poland did stage a late comeback but could only come within three as their heartbroken team left the court in tears.

“It was not an easy game,” said Rasmussen. “On one side I'm very happy about the victory, but on the other side I'm very sad for Poland because I had a long history with them – it’s a feeling I haven’t felt before.”

Player of the match Aniko Kovacsics was full of pride for the performance and result. “We prepared hard for this match,” she said. “We were very concentrated and I'm very proud to be a part of this team - it's a very good feeling.”

“It was an important game for us,” said Krowicki. “Hungary had more alternatives today but are rebuilding this team after losing many players and this change process takes a lot of time. In a world championship you need consistency and we played all our games very good for a long time, but not for the whole 60 minutes.”
 
While the match saw Hungarian celebrations, the post-match media conference saw Kudlacz-Gloc face the press, full of emotion. “I'm a fighter until the last seconds,” she said. “We were well prepared and gave all our energy in this match. The older players of us know Kim and how he plays handball, but we couldn’t counter them today. I'm very sad as the captain, that we can't reach our aim.”

Best player of the Match presented by adidas: Aniko KOVACSICS (HUN)

Sweden vs Argentina 38:24 (17:13)

Henrik Signell exclaimed the virtues of his Swedish side finding 14 different scorers in this match and giving rest to his squad, but admitted that the performances in this match had caused him some good problems to face ahead of their final group match against Norway, but, ultimately, this result sealed his sides’ second place in the group.

Louise Sand finally opened her Germany 2017 scoring account, but it was goalkeeper’s Filippa Idehn 42% save ratio performance in the nets for the Swedes (16 shots out of 38 saved) which was the highlight in a match where Sweden found it hard to keep their tempo high for the whole 60 minutes – Signell took a time out in the 17th minute to remind his team of their responsibilities - and captain Sabina Jacobsen saw red in the 43rd minute for her third two-minute suspension.

“It's a very cool atmosphere in this arena, with a lot of Swedish people here,” said Sweden’s Ulrika Toft Hansen. “It's always better when you win a match and have supporters here. We have to prepare for Norway very well, because they are like a machine and have so many good players.”

“The girls never stopped fighting,” said Signell. “Players like [Isabelle] Gulden have played a lot of time, so we could rest her in this match and allow others to play which didn't play so much. As Argentina came closer, I said to them they should show more attitude and stay tight.”
 
Argentina coach Eduardo Peruchena despite the loss, was happy as he saw progress from their last game – a 33:15 loss against Hungary. “It was a really hard match for us, but we are happy that we scored 24 goals and scored over 20 for the second time. I'm happy with the girl’s performance, because it is a very hard group.”
 
His thoughts were echoed by goalkeeper Marisol Carratu. “I agree with my coach,” she said. “We are happy with the goals and can take a lot of positive memories with us.” 
 
Player of the Match presented by adidas: Filippa IDEHN (SWE)

Czech Republic vs Norway 16:34 (7:20)

Norway made it four wins out of four as their dominance of Group B continues apace, making light work of Czech Republic, opening a 10-goal lead (15:5) in the 19th minute. Jan Basny’s side knew before throw-off that they had already sealed their eighth-final place thanks to the Poland loss against Hungary, but they had no answer to the Norwegian attack.

Despite the arsenal of weapons on display by the northern Europeans, the crowd inside the EgeTrans Arena gasped in amazement at what will surely be one of the best goals scored at Germany 2017 when Veronika Mala for Czech Republic managed to grab a long pass, right on the edge of the Norway area and smash home on the spin from behind her back against the goalkeeping legend which is Katrine Lunde – but despite this extraordinary skill her side were still down by double figures (17:7) and they had no answers to the Norwegian machine which enters their final group match tomorrow against Sweden knowing only a draw will confirm their top spot.

“We had a really good match, we ran the whole time,” said Norway’s Helene Fauske. “Sweden will be a tough match tomorrow.”

“From now on we must concentrate on the next two games – against Hungary tomorrow and the eighth-finals,” said Czech coach Jan Basny. 

Norway coach Thorir Hergeirsson was happy to rotate his squad. “We managed to play all of our players and this is good as we play Sweden who are the best team in this group [that we will face].”

“Before we came to Germany we knew that Norway would be the best team in this group and in this tournament,” said Czech Republic player Marketa Jerabkova. “We wished for a better performance today, but it was the way we played today.”

Player of the Match presented by adidas: Stine OFTEDAL (NOR)

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