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Date: 1/24/2018

After three match days, the Main Round of the 18th AHF Mens Asian Championship completed today with the top two teams from Group 1 and Group 2 going straight through to face each other in the semi-finals in two days while, in addition, three days of the 9-14 placement round also took place.


In the Main Round, all eyes were on the final game in Group 2 with Japan and Bahrain fighting it out for the second, and final, position in the group and the reward of a semi-final place. Both teams are now coached by Icelanders, with Japan overseen by Mens EHF EURO 2016 winning coach (with Germany) Dagur Sigurdsson, and Bahrain led by the multiple-title winning Gudmundur Gudmundsson.


Former Denmark mens national coach Gudmundsson has come up against Sigurdsson numerous times, both at a club level in the German Bundesliga and internationally, with the Bahrain coach in a stronger position going into the clash today knowing if his side avoided defeat they would qualify. In the end it was heartbreak for Japan as they could not keep up their early pace and eventually lost by eight goals (29:21).


Japan will now face Iran in the 5/6 Placement matches after the west Asian team lost two of their three Main Round games (against Saudi Arabia and Korea).


As for Bahrain, their second-place finish in the group (behind the dominant Qataris) will see them face the Saudis, who topped their group, thanks to three strong wins out of three, including a 25:23 victory today against host nation Korea.


The Koreans knew that a loss would see them finish in second place and face title holders Qatar in the final four, and that match will prove to be a tall order for the home team, who have not shown their best performances in Suwon yet.

The results also mean that the final four teams: Korea, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have all automatically qualified for the 2019 IHF Men's World Championship in Denmark/Germany.

The two bottom teams in each Main Round group will play off for 7/8 place
Oman vs UAE while in the 9-14 placement round there was always going to be history made when debutants Australia and Bangladesh threw-off on Monday, and in the end, it was the Aussies who got their first-ever championship points as they won 35:22.


That win meant Australia will play India for 11/12 place and the Kiwis (NZL) will play Bangladesh for 13/14 place in what is sure to be an interesting encounter with both teams wanting to avoid last place and eager to grab their first-ever championship points. Uzbekistan will meet China for 9/10 place after the teams won both of their 9-14 placement round matches.


Thursday 25 January will be a rest day for all teams with Friday 26 January the final day for 7-14 placement matches and the evening set for the two semi-finals. Saturday 27 January will be a rest day ahead of the finals days featuring the bronze medal match (17:00) and final (19:00).


All games will be streamed live and free on the Handball Korea Facebook page HERE.


Friday 26 January Schedule

All times local


To be played at the Suwon Indoor Stadium:



17:00     KOR vs QAT

19:00     KSA vs BRN



15:00     IRI vs JPN


To be played at the Seo-Suwon Chilbo Stadium:



17 :00    OMA vs UAE



15:00     UZB vs CHN



13:00     IND vs AUS



11:00     NZL vs BAN




Monday 22 January


Main Round: Group 1

KSA vs IRI 26:23

KOR vs OMA 29:27


Main Round: Group 2

UAE vs BRN 22:28

QAT vs JPN 40:23


Placement Round 9-14

NZL vs UZB 19:33

BAN vs AUS 22:35


Tuesday 23 January


Main Round: Group 1

OMA vs KSA 20:26

KOR vs IRI 28:25


Main Round: Group 2

JPN vs UAE 27:20

BRN vs QAT 21:29


Placement Round 9-14

IND vs NZL 38:24

BAN vs CHN 10:35


Wednesday 24 January


Main Round: Group 1

IRI vs OMA 40:25

KOR vs KSA 23:26


Main Round: Group 2

QAT vs UAE 34:20

JPN vs BRN 21:29


Placement Round 9-14

AUS vs CHN 16:26

UZB vs IND 29:27

Photo: Asian Handball Federation